Michael Bublé – It’s Time (2005)

FrontCover1Michael Steven Bublé (born September 9, 1975)[1] is a Canadian singer. His first album reached the top ten in Canada and the United Kingdom. He found a worldwide audience with his 2005 album It’s Time and his 2007 album Call Me Irresponsible – which reached number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, the UK Albums Chart, the US Billboard 200, the Australian ARIA Albums Chart and several European charts. Bublé’s 2009 album Crazy Love debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 after three days of sales, and remained there for two weeks. It was also his fourth number one album on Billboard’s Top Jazz Albums chart. His 2011 holiday album, Christmas, was in first place on the Billboard 200 for the final four weeks of 2011 and the first week of 2012, totalling five weeks atop the chart, it also made the top 5 in the United Kingdom. With this, Christmas became his third-consecutive number-one album on the chart. To Be Loved was released in April 2013, followed by Nobody but Me in October 2016 and Love in November 2018. Bublé has sold over 75 million records worldwide, and won numerous awards, including four Grammy Awards and multiple Juno Awards. Bublé is a dual citizen of Canada and Italy.

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It’s Time is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer, Michael Bublé. It was released on February 8, 2005 by 143 Records and Reprise Records. With arrangements by David Foster, the album contains cover versions of songs from traditional pop and contemporary pop: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Stevie Wonder, and The Beatles. And it includes “Home”, a song co-written by Bublé.

Despite some unfavorable reviews, the album was a commercial success, topping the charts in Canada, Italy, and Spain, while peaking in the top ten in eleven other countries. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it three-times platinum, for shipments of three million copies across the United States. In Australia, the album was certified five times Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for sales of 350,000 copies sold, and in Canada it was certified six times Platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for sales of 600,000 copies.

In the U.S., “Home” reached No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart,[2] while topping the Adult Contemporary chart. It also reached the top forty on the Adult Pop Songs[4] and Digital Songs charts.

“Home” peaked at No. 35 in Australia, No. 31 in the UK, and No. 1 in ten countries.

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Bublé credits the success of It’s Time, which sold six million copies by 2011, to “Home.” It was the most played song on Canadian radio in 2006.[10] It’s Time sold well in Japan, Italy, and Australia, and charted in the top ten singles in both the U.K. and U.S. charts. Bublé said that during the recording of It’s Time he “came into [his] own as a songwriter” and hearing his own song on the radio made him feel “like a true artist.” He acknowledged that a downside to producing covers of well-loved songs is that people often compare them to the original; in writing his own song, he says, he found a sense of freedom. Bublé feels that the Michael Bublé01song is distinct in comparison to the other songs on the album because of its “country-pop twang” and more-relatable lyrics. The song was written collaboratively with Amy Foster-Gillies, Nashville native and daughter of successful Canadian musician David Foster. In his 2011 autobiography, Onstage Offstage, Bublé states that then-girlfriend Debbie Timuss was his inspiration for the song. Timuss sang backing vocals on “Home” and appeared in the music video, which was filmed in the Orpheum Theater in Vancouver, Canada. “Home” won the 2006 Juno Award for single of the year. A cover version was recorded by American country singer Blake Shelton. Shelton’s version of Bublé’s song landed him top of the charts for R&R Singles Chart and MediaBase Singles. Shelton was quoted in saying,” I loved ‘Home’ the first time I heard it, and I really love it now,” said Shelton. “I’m glad I’m not the only one that thought it was a country song. I’ve had the honor of performing “Home” with Michael Bublé on a couple of occasions and can honestly say he is a really great guy, and I think as a writer he’s probably pretty excited that it’s reached number one, too.”

Bublé attributes the song’s popularity to its universal theme, stating that “[w]e all know what it’s like to be homesick. It’s one of the worst feelings. I know about that as well as anybody.”[9] “Home” was also featured on the soundtrack of the 2005 American romantic comedy The Wedding Date along with other songs from Bublé’s albums.

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“Feeling Good” was released as the first international single from the album on April 4, 2005. Although the single failed to chart in the United States, it managed to chart on the Austria Singles Chart at No. 66 and on the Dutch Singles Chart at No.62. It also charted in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 69.

Woodrow Wilkins from All About Jazz commended how It’s Time was “relevant to today’s audience” and noted that Bublé “delivers [the songs] with the heart and passion that only a person who claims ownership of these titles can muster”.[20] However, Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian didn’t appreciate the album’s composition of jazz and pop covers, saying that “Sinatra is turning in his grave”. Amy Lichty of the Daily Emerald said that “Bublé’s clear voice and smooth rhythms keep the CD moving along”, but also noted that he “is simply no match for either Sinatra or Connick” (wikipedia)

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Although it took more than a year of concerts and promotional appearances, Michael Bublé’s 2003 debut disc of swinging pop standards finally ascended the Billboard album chart and landed at number 47. That peak may not seem impressive at first, but in a musical world dominated by rap or the latest flavor of alternative rock, Bublé’s upper chart appearance was a real accomplishment and it sparked a renewed interest in music associated with great vocalists like Frank Sinatra. With his second studio disc, It’s Time, Bublé builds upon the musical foundation he laid with his debut and demonstrates that he is much more than a flavor-of-the-month celebrity. Like his debut, It’s Time mines the rich history of pop music as Bublé applies his own technique to classic standards and incorporates his Rat Pack sound into modern pop songs. Other pop vocal giants have made attempts to reinterpret the pop songs of their day with appalling results (Mel Tormé’s version of “Sunshine Superman” comes to mind), but Bublé has the knack for selecting the right songs that he can properly transform into edible works that avoid a cheesy aftertaste. Having a standard like “A Foggy Day (In London Town)” share space with the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” may seem like a lounge lizard joke waiting to happen, but the arrangements (most courtesy of producer David Foster) and performances are seamless. Therefore, the quiet groove of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” can sit comfortable next to Bublé’s smoky version of Leon Russell’s “Song for You,” featuring Chris Botti on trumpet.

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Perhaps it is due to this formula working so well that Bublé has incorporated more of his unique takes on modern pop than on his debut. He even ventures into R&B territory with older hits like “Try a Little Tenderness” and “How Sweet It Is,” all the while giving these songs a retro freshness that breathes new life into these gems. Pop starlet Nelly Furtado sounds lovely and elegant in the duet “Quando, Quando, Quando,” while Bublé ends the disc with a beautiful reading of Stevie Wonder’s “You and I.” Another positive step forward is the inclusion of the lovely original tune “Home,” a somewhat autobiographical “too long on the road” song co-written by Bublé. The success of this ballad provides yet another direction that he can explore and expand upon. Throughout the disc Bublé emits the feeling that he loves these songs and truly enjoys what he is doing. He sounds pure of voice and pure of heart. Those are rare commodities in the recorded world and they, along with Bublé’s talent and vision, help to make It’s Time a wonderful listening experience. (by Aaron Latham)

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Personnel:
Michael Bublé (vocals)
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George Bohanon (trombone on 07.)
Chris Botti (trumpeton 11.)
Brian Bromberg (bass)
Lee Callet (saxophone on 07.)
Frank Capp (drums on 12.)
Gilbert Castellanos (trumpet on 07.)
Alan Chang (piano on 03.)
John Chiodini (guitar on 12.)
Jeff Clayton (saxophone on 07.)
Vinnie Colaiuta (drums)
Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet on 07.)
Neil Devor (programming)
Keith Fiddmont (saxophone on 07.)
David Foster (keyboards on 04., piano on 05., 08., 11. + 13., bass on 08, + 10.)
Nelly Furtado (vocals on 04.)
Brian Green (guitar on 02., 03. 05. + 09.) (2, 3, 5)
Jeff Hamilton (drums on 06., 07. + 10.)
Tamir Hendelman (piano on 06., 07. + 10.)
Dan Higgins (flute, saxophone on 04.)
Robert Hurst (bass on 06.)
Brandon Jenner (guitar on 08.)
Christian McBride (bass on 07.)
Ira Nepus (trombone on 07.)
Charles Owens (saxophone on 07.)
Kye Palmer (trumpet on 07.)
Rafael Padilla (percussion on 01., 02.,04. – 06. + 08.)
Dean Parks (guitar on 01., 03., 05. 09. + 10.)
Heitor Pereira (guitar on 04.)
Ryan Porter (trombone on 07.)
Bill Reichenbach Jr. (bass trombone on 07.)
Jochem van der Saag (programming on 01., 05.,06., 08. +10., organ on 06. + 10., harmonica on 10.)
Michael Thompson (guitar on 08. + 12.)
Debbie Timuss (backing vocals on 05.)
Dave Tull (drums on 02. + 13.)
Randy Waldman  (piano on 01., 02., 09. + 12.)
Bijon Watson (trumpet on 07.)
Anthony Wilson (guitar on 07.)
Rickey Woodard (saxophone on 07.)

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Tracklist:
01. Feeling Good (Bricusse/Newley) 3.56
02. A Foggy Day (In London Town) (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 2.31
03. You Don’t Know Me (Arnold/Walker) 4.13
04. Quando, Quando, Quando (duet with Nelly Furtado) (Renis/Testa/Drake) 4.45
05. Home (Bublé/Chang/Foster-Gillies) 3.45
06. Can’t Buy Me Love (Lennon/McCartney) 3.14
07. The More I See You (Gordon/Warren) 3.47
08. Save The Last Dance For Me (Pomus/Shuman) 3.38
09. Try A Little Tenderness (Campbell/Connelly/Woods) 4.05
10. How Sweet It Is (L.Dozier/Holland/E.Holland) 2.58
11. Song For You (feat. Chris Botti) (Russell) 4.42
12. I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Porter) 3.40
13. You And I (Wonder) 3.54

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Wet Wet Wet – Greatest Hits – End Of Part One (1993)

FrontCover1Wet Wet Wet are a Scottish soft rock band formed in 1982. They scored a number of hits in the UK charts and around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. The band is composed of Graeme Clark (bass, vocals), Tommy Cunningham (drums, vocals), Neil Mitchell (keyboards, piano, vocals) and, since 2018, lead vocalist and former Liberty X singer Kevin Simm, who replaced founding member Marti Pellow after he left during the previous year. A fifth, unofficial member, Graeme Duffin (lead guitar, vocals), has been with them since 1983. The band were named Best British Newcomer at the 1988 Brit Awards.

They are best known for their 1994 cover of The Troggs’ 1960s hit “Love Is All Around”, which was used on the soundtrack to the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was a huge international success and spent 15 weeks atop the British charts. One week before potentially equalling the record for the most consecutive weeks at number 1 on the UK singles chart, held by Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”, it dropped to number two.

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End of Part One: Their Greatest Hits is the first compilation album released by Scottish pop rock quartet Wet Wet Wet. Released on 8 November 1993, the album serves as a comprehensive collection of the band’s single discography, featuring all sixteen singles released between 1987 and 1993, plus two brand new songs — “Shed a Tear” and “Cold Cold Heart” — which were recorded by Nile Rodgers at The Hit Factory in New York City, where the album’s artwork was also shot. Both went on to be released as a singles.

The album peaked at No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart. An accompanying VHS video, containing the band’s fifteen music videos to date, was released three days after the album on 11 November. In 1994, following the release of the band’s biggest hit to date, “Love Is All Around”, the album was re-released containing the aforementioned song as a bonus track. Subsequently, the album re-entered the UK Albums Chart, this time peaking at No. 1. A US-only version of the album, Part One, was released on 26 July 1994, peaking at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. (wikipedia)

Wet Wet Wet02From the time Wet Wet Wet’s debut was released in 1987 to the time this best-of compilation was released in 1993, the band managed to become one of the biggest-selling acts in British chart history; and that was before the release of “Love Is All Around.” End of Part One brings together Wet Wet Wet’s hits from the late ’80s and early ’90s and is a good overview of the band’s early catalog of work.

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Ranging from blue-eyed soul to radio-friendly pop, the disc catalogs the band’s evolution, although it also serves to show some of the limitations of the band, most noticeably Marti Pellow’s charismatic but limited vocal delivery. For casual fans, this is all the Wet Wet Wet you’ll ever need, as End of Part One contains the best of their recordings without too much of the album fill. Apart from their biggest single, “Love Is All Around,” there was nothing from the last few years of their existence that matched the quality of the songs collected here. (by Jonathan Lewis)

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Personnel:
Graeme Clark (bass, guitar, background vocals)
Tommy Cunningham (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Graeme Duffin (guitar, background vocals)
Neil Mitchell (keyboards)
Marti Pellow (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Wishing I Was Lucky (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.52
02. Sweet Little Mystery (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.42
03. Angel Eyes (single version) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.29
04. Temptation” (edited version) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3:58
05. With A Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney) 2.37
06. Sweet Surrender” (7″ version) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.22
07. Broke Away” (7″ version) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.58
08. Hold Back The River (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.43
o9. Stay With Me Heartache (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.08
10. This Time (Mitchell/Adams Jr.) 4.13
11. Make It Tonight (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.03
12. Put The Light On (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.56
13. Goodnight Girl (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 3.38
14. More Than Love (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.20
15. Lip Service (7″ version) 4.27
16. Blue For You” (live) (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 5.15
17. Shed A Tear (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.38
18. Cold Cold Heart (Clark/Cunningham/Mitchell/Pellow) 4.12
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19. “Love Is All Around (Presley) 3.56

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Chumbawamba – Tubthumper (1997)

FrontCover1Chumbawamba  were an English rock band formed in 1982 and disbanded in 2012. The band drew on genres such as punk rock, pop, and folk. Their anarcho-communist political leanings led them to have an irreverent attitude toward authority, and to espouse a variety of political and social causes including animal rights and pacifism (early in their career) and later regarding class struggle, Marxism, feminism, gay liberation, pop culture, and anti-fascism.

The band are best known for their song “Tubthumping”, which was nominated for Best British Single at the 1998 Brit Awards. Other singles include “Amnesia”, “Enough Is Enough” (with MC Fusion), “Timebomb”, “Top of the World (Olé, Olé, Olé)”, and “Add Me”.

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In July 2012, Chumbawamba announced they were splitting up after 30 years. On its website the members stated “That’s it then, it’s the end. With neither a whimper, a bang, or a reunion.” The band was joined by former members and collaborators for three final shows between 31 October and 3 November 2012, one of which was filmed and released as a live DVD.

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Tubthumper is the eighth studio album and the major label debut by English rock band Chumbawamba, released on 1 September 1997 by EMI. The album was written and produced by Chumbawamba, with additional production from Neil Ferguson. A musical departure from the group’s anarcho-punk roots, the album incorporates elements of pop rock, dance-pop, and alternative rock. Thematically, the album acts as a social commentary on a variety of political issues, particularly that of class conflict. Tubthumper was promoted with three singles: “Tubthumping”, “Amnesia”, and “Drip, Drip, Drip”. “Top of the World (Olé, Olé, Olé)”, a standalone single previously featured on the official music compilation album for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, was included on a European reissue of Tubthumper.

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Tubthumper received generally positive reviews from music critics, who noted it as a sonically distinctive record, in addition to praising its subtle social commentary. Following the international commercial success of lead single “Tubthumping”, the album peaked at number three in the United States and within the top ten in several other countries. The album’s release was met with several controversies, including controversial comments in interviews by group vocalist Alice Nutter and allegations of the band selling out after signing to a major label. Tubthumper remains as Chumbawamba’s most successful album, having sold over 3.2 million units in the United States alone.

Sessions for Tubthumper spanned from August 1996 through February 1997 at Woodlands Studio in Castleford, West Yorkshire, England. The album was written and produced by Chumbawamba, with additional production from Neil Ferguson. Approximately twenty songs were written for the album, with the group choosing to pursue a more mainstream sound entailing elements of pop rock, dance-pop, and alternative rock. The album resulted in a stalemate between Chumbawamba and their record label, One Little Indian Records, with the latter rejecting the record in opposition to the group’s new sound.[3] As a result, Chumbawamba parted ways with the label, then signing with EMI in England and Universal Music Group in the United States. The group intended to reach a larger audience with their music through signing with a major record label.

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The album catapulted the group into the mainstream, released by EMI in the UK and in the US by Universal Records, and was noted for its departure from the group’s typical style of outspoken punk rock in favor of a more mainstream sound.[4][5]

The album’s title refers to “Someone who stands on a soapbox on the street corner and shouts what’s wrong with the world”.[6] The cover for the album was designed by Michael Calleia[7] at Industrial Strength Design[8] in New York City. The cover was loosely based on the album cover for the group’s 1994 album Anarchy, with the group commenting “the anarchy baby was just being born on Anarchy, and we thought it should be eight months to a year old with a bit of attitude on Tubthumper.”

A recurring lyrical theme on Tubthumper is social commentary, in particular class conflict.[3][9] However, critic Elisabeth Vincentelli opined that the group had “toned down some of the radical rhetoric”, and that the album’s lyrics, where they were previously had a “brusque directness”, Tubthumper contained “oblique pathos”.

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The song “One by One” has been described as an “elegiac tale of treachery” committed by politicians. “The Good Ship Lifestyle” criticizes “lifestylism”, which the group defined as the “practice of wrapping yourself in a blinkered, self-perfecting, ideologically-sound cocoon”, telling other people how to live their lives but not abiding those rules oneself.

Tubtumper incorporates a number of musical styles, including synth-pop, hip hop, jungle, and madrigals.[9] The album was noted for its presence of trumpet solos. Music critic Greg Kot likened the album’s catchiness to that of the Spice Girls. An album review by Rolling Stone compared the musical style of “Smalltown” to that of British alternative group Everything But the Girl, while deeming the album’s overall genre “radio-friendly dance pop”. The Los Angeles Times concurred that the album was dance-pop.

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Some critics were more lukewarm in their assessments of the album, however: Rolling Stone’s Elisabeth Vincentelli awarded the album 3 stars and opined that the album’s lyrics “have traded the brusque directness of yore for oblique pathos”, though she did go on to praise “Smalltown” as being “coolly collected” and “Tubthumping” as having “a fist-in-the-air quality that would work equally well at a union rally and in an arena.” She concluded that the album “may not enlighten the masses, but it’ll make them dance”. Music critic Robert Christgau awarded the album a 3-star honourable mention rating and cited “Tubthumping” and “Amnesia” as highlights, with the note “Tub as platform, tub as cornucopia, tub as slop bucket”.

Tubthumper was Chumbawamba’s most successful album in several respects. It spawned the worldwide hit “Tubthumping”, which was a top 10 hit in the US, the UK, Sweden, Norway, and Belgium, and a number 1 hit in Canada, Italy, Ireland, and Australia. The follow-up single, “Amnesia”, also proved a commercial success, managing to reach the top 10 in the UK and Canada. The album spawned a third single, “Drip Drip Drip”, which failed to make an impression on any international chart but was met with positive critical reception.

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The album became a commercial success. In the United States, it hit number 3 on the Billboard 200[29] and sold more than 3,200,000 copies, thanks in large part to the success of “Tubthumping;”[30] Canada, where the album reached number 2; and the UK, where the album reached number 19. The album also placed at number 17 on the American tally of top-selling albums of 1997. Tubthumper remains the group’s highest-charting album in all three territories; its sales in the US stand at 3,200,000.

The group’s decision to sign with a major record label caused a huge upheaval in Chumbawamba’s fan base, with many of their older fans feeling the band had trivialised all that they had stood for in signing to EMI. The band was targeted by many as being sell-outs and hypocrites, after having been sternly do-it-yourself for their fifteen-year history up until that point.

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The band defended their decision on their official FAQ page, issuing a statement that read, in part: “We signed to EMI/Universal not because we’d been co-opted into the ‘If you can’t beat capitalism … join it’ school of thought, but because experience had taught us that in a capitalist environment almost every record company operates on capitalist principles. Our previous record label One Little Indian didn’t have the evil symbolic significance of EMI BUT they were completely motivated by profit. Our [Chumbawamba’s] position was that whoever we signed with would want us not for our ideas but for the potential profit, so we’d battle for a contract where we still had autonomy.”

Chumbawamba’s decision to sign with a major record label prompted the release of the extended play, Bare Faced Hypocrisy Sells Records – The Anti-Chumbawamba EP, by several of their contemporaries in 1998. The release included contributions from The Chineapple Punks, Riot/Clone, Anxiety Society, Love, Chips & Peace, Oi Polloi, Bus Station Loonies, and Wat Tyler.

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In early 1998, group vocalist Alice Nutter made an appearance on the American television show Politically Incorrect, to promote the album. During the interview, she appeared to encourage fans who were unable to afford Tubthumper to steal it from big chain music stores like HMV and Virgin.[36] Her statement led several music retailers to stop carrying the album altogether.[37] In the United States, following the interview, Virgin Megastores pulled the album from store shelves, while the album was number 7 on the US album chart; the company continued to sell the album, but kept it behind the counter.[36][38] Virgin’s Vice President of Marketing issued a statement about the incident, which said that the company didn’t genuinely believe fans would steal the disc, but that the company wanted to make a statement: “We were one of the earliest supporters of the band…We’ve been pushing the band since the beginning, and this is the kind of thanks we get?”

Nutter maintained that her comments had been taken out of context, and that they were “tongue-in-cheek” and not to be taken seriously. She told MTV in a January 1998 interview that “They wanted to talk about people stealing our record, which is irrelevant in the scheme of things. What I wanted to talk about was why people shoplift and why in some cases it’s absolutely valid. Some people have two houses and two cars and luxuries for far more than themselves, and other people struggle to survive day by day.”

The ensuing controversy also served to stoke the public’s interest in the album. (wikipedia)

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Chumbawamba had been kicking around the British indie scene for years, releasing nine albums before Tubthumper unexpectedly brought the band to the top of the charts not only in England, but around the world. The difference between Tubthumper and the rest of Chumbawamba’s catalog lay in “Tubthumping,” a giddily infectious blend of big dance beats, pop hooks, and football chants. It’s a standout single, one that finds the group at its catchiest, and there isn’t anything quite as good on the remainder of Tubthumper, an album that finds the group downplaying its notorious political radicalism in favor of pop and dance. Still, there’s a handful of cuts scattered throughout the record that make the album worthwhile, and there’s no denying that “Tubthumping” is a hit single unlike any other. It’s one of the least likely hit singles ever, and that alone makes the record distinctive. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Jude Abbott (trumpet, vocals)
Dunstan Bruce (vocals, percussion)
Paul Greco (bass)
Neil Ferguson (keyboards, guitar)
Harry Hamer (drums, programming)
Danbert “The Cat” Nobacon (vocals)
Alice Nutter (vocals)
Lou Watts (vocals, keyboards)
Boff Whalley (guitar, vocals)
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Chopper (cello on 11.)
Geoff Clout (vocals)
Michael Cohen (vocals on 02.)
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Abbott Sauce Works Band (brass on 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Tubthumping 4.38
02. Amnesia 4.08
03. Drip, Drip, Drip 5.08
04. The Big Issue 4.37
05. The Good Ship Lifestyle 5.13
06. One by One 5.45
07. Outsider 5.08
08. Creepy Crawling 4.03
09. Mary, Mary 4.58
10. Smalltown 3.13
11. I Want More 4.01
12. Scapegoat 5.06

Notes:
“Tubthumping” and “Scapegoat” contain sampled excerpts from the 1996 film Brassed Off, as spoken by Pete Postlethwaite.
“Amnesia” contains sampled excerpts from the television series Rising Damp, as spoken by Richard Beckinsale and Leonard Rossiter, and from a government-produced public service announcement on mad cow disease.
“The Big Issue” contains sampled elements from the composition “Danke Für Diesen Guten Morgen”, as written and performed by Martin Gotthard Schneider.
“The Good Ship Lifestyle” contains a sampled excerpt from the BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast.
“Mary, Mary” contains a sampled excerpt from the 1993 film Raining Stones.

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All songs written by:
Jude Abbott – Dunstan Bruce – Paul Greco – Neil Ferguson – Harry Hamer – Danbert  Nobacon – Alice Nutter – Lou Watts – Boff Whalley

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Annie Lennox – Medusa + Live In Central Park (1995)

FrontCover1Ann Lennox OBE (born 25 December 1954) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist. After achieving moderate success in the late 1970s as part of the new wave band the Tourists, she and fellow musician Dave Stewart went on to achieve international success in the 1980s as Eurythmics. Appearing in the 1983 music video for “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” with orange cropped hair and wearing a man’s business suit, the BBC states, “all eyes were on Annie Lennox, the singer whose powerful androgynous look defied the male gaze”. Subsequent hits with Eurythmics include “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)” and “Here Comes the Rain Again”.

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Lennox embarked on a solo career in 1992 with her debut album, Diva, which produced several hit singles including “Why” and “Walking on Broken Glass”. The same year, she performed “Love Song for a Vampire” for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Her 1995 studio album, Medusa, includes cover versions of songs such as “No More ‘I Love You’s'” and “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. To date, she has released six solo studio albums and a compilation album, The Annie Lennox Collection (2009). With eight Brit Awards, which includes being named Best British Female Artist a record six times, Lennox has been named the “Brits Champion of Champions”. She has also collected four Grammy Awards and an MTV Video Music Award. In 2002, Lennox received a Billboard Century Award; the highest accolade from Billboard. In 2004, she received the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Into the West”, written for the soundtrack to the feature film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

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Lennox’s vocal range is contralto. She has been named “The Greatest White Soul Singer Alive” by VH1 and one of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone. In 2012, she was rated No. 22 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women in Music. In June 2013 the Official Charts Company called her “the most successful female British artist in UK music history”. As of June 2008, including her work with Eurythmics, Lennox had sold over 80 million records worldwide. As part of a one-hour symphony of British Music, Lennox performed “Little Bird” during the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in London. At the 2015 Ivor Novello Awards, Lennox was made a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, the first woman to receive the honour. Lennox (and Eurythmics partner Dave Stewart) was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2020 and the duo were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.

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In addition to her career as a musician, Lennox is also a political and social activist, raising money and awareness for HIV/AIDS as it affects women and children in Africa. She founded the SING Campaign in 2007 and founded a women’s empowerment charity called The Circle in 2008. In 2011, Lennox was appointed an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II for her “tireless charity campaigns and championing of humanitarian causes”. On 4 June 2012, she performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace. In 2017, Lennox was appointed Glasgow Caledonian University’s first female chancellor

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Medusa is the second solo studio album by Scottish singer Annie Lennox, released on 6 March 1995 by RCA Records. It consists entirely of cover songs. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and peaked in the United States at number 11, spending 60 weeks on the Billboard 200. It has since achieved double platinum status in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

The album yielded four singles in the United Kingdom: “No More I Love You’s” (which entered the UK Singles Chart at number 2, becoming Lennox’s highest-peaking solo single), “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, “Waiting in Vain” and “Something So Right”.

Lennox explains the origins of the album in the liner notes:

This album contains a selection of songs I have been drawn to for all kinds of reasons. There were not chosen with any particular theme or concept in mind—the method was more by instinct than by design. The work undertaken was truly a labour of love for me and I feel privileged to have been given this opportunity.

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The album was nominated for Best Pop Album at the Grammy Awards of 1996, losing to Turbulent Indigo by Joni Mitchell. Lennox took home the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance award for her work on the first single “No More I Love You’s”. This album was re-released in late 1995 in a double jewel case containing the album Medusa and a nine-track bonus CD featuring the studio version of Paul Simon’s “Something So Right” (with Simon guesting on vocals and guitar) and eight tracks recorded live from the concert in Central Park: “Money Can’t Buy It”, “Legend in My Living Room”, the Eurythmics singles “Who’s That Girl?”, “You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart” and “Here Comes the Rain Again”, along with “Why”, “Little Bird” and “Walking on Broken Glass”.

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Professional reviews for Medusa were mixed, ranging from favourable to outright hostile. AllMusic notes that critics “savaged” the album upon release: Trouser Press was probably the most severe in its criticism, characterising Lennox’s interpretations of classic material as “obvious”, “milquetoast” and “willfully wrongheaded”. Reviewer Ira Robbins did single out the track “No More I Love You’s” for genuine, if backhanded, praise: “The only song here that benefits from her ministrations is ‘No More ‘I Love You’s,’ a minor 1986 hit for Britain’s otherwise forgotten The Lover Speaks, and that’s only by dint of the original’s obscurity.” (wikipedia)

Meanwhile, Rolling Stone gave the album a more favourable, though still mixed review:

Annie Lennox called her justifiably popular solo debut Diva, but it’s actually on the follow-up effort Medusa that she really starts acting like one. This wildly uneven album of cover versions starts with perhaps its highest point—a truly wonderful interpretation of “No More I Love You’s”, a relatively obscure British hit by The Lover Speaks. Unfortunately, Lennox doesn’t work the same magic with more familiar material like Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” and Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.

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The critics savaged Annie Lennox’s sophomore effort when it first came out, and it’s easy to see why: it’s not that an all-covers album was a bad idea, but she did pick some rather large shoes to fill and she did kind of run roughshod over the songs themselves, taking gritty material by the likes of Neil Young and the Clash and turning it into super-slick electro-pop ear candy. But on the other hand, candy sometimes really hits the spot, and Lennox’s rendition of “No More I Love You’s” by the ultra-obscure British pop band the Lover Speaks is ravishingly, heartbreakingly lovely. Those who have never heard the Clash’s original version of “Train in Vain” might not find her version as objectionable as the critics did, either. But there’s no arguing with the critics when it comes to her anemic take on the Al Green classic “Take Me to the River” or her equally numb rendition of Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down.” Those who have given up on looking cool, however, might find themselves able to enjoy her gentle arrangement of “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Don’t pay full price for this, but snap it up if you find it in a bargain bin somewhere. (by Rick Anderson)

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Personnel:
Annie Lennox (vocals, keyboards, flute)
Stephen Lipson (programming, guitar, keyboards, bass)
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Neil Conti (drums)
Matthew Cooper (keyboards)
Dann Gillen (drums)
Danny D (programming)
Pandit Dinesh (tabla)
Mark Feltham (harmonica)
Luís Jardim (percussion, bass)
Judd Lander (harmonica)
James McNally (accordion)
Tony Pastor (guitar)
Andy Richards (keyboards)
Steve Sidelnyk (programming)
Kirampal Singh (santoor)
Peter-John Vettese (keyboards)
Marius de Vries (keyboards, programming)
Doug Wimbish (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. No More ‘I Love You’s (Freeman/Hughes) 4.52
02. Take Me To The River (Green/Hodges) 3.33
03. A Whiter Shade Of Pale (Brooker/Reid) 5.16
04. Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Young) 3.38
05. Train In Vain (Strummer/Jones) 4.44
06. I Can’t Get Next To You (Whitfield/Srong) 3.08
07. Downtown Lights (Buchanan) 6.44
08. Thin Line Between Love And Hate (Richard Poindexter/Robert Poindexter/Members) 4.54
09. Waiting In Vain (Marley) 5.40
10. Something So Right (Simon) 3,56
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Live In Central Park 1995:
11. Money Can’t Buy It (Lennox) 4.41
12. Legend In My Living Room (Lennox/Vettese) 3.48
13. Who’s That Girl? (Lennox/Stewart) 4.25
14. You Have Placed A Chill in My Heart (Lennox/Stewart) 5.20
15. Little Bird (Lennox) 5.23
16. Walking On Broken Glass (Lennox) 3.56
17. Here Comes The Rain Again (Lennox/Stewart) 5.52
18. Why (Lennox) 5.04
19. Something So Right (studio version) (featuring Paul Simon) (Simon) 3.48
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20. Live In Central Park, New York City, September 9th, 1975 (uncut edition)  43.17
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321. Heaven (single B-side) (R.Butler/T.Butler) 4.58

CDs

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The official website:
Website

Seal – Same (1994)

FrontCover1Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel (born 19 February 1963), known professionally as Seal, is a British singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. He has sold over 20 million records worldwide. These include hit songs “Crazy” and “Killer”, the latter of which went to number one in the UK, and his most celebrated song, “Kiss from a Rose”, which was released in 1994. Seal is renowned for his distinctive soulful singing voice.

Seal has won multiple awards throughout his career, including three Brit Awards; he won Best British Male in 1992. He has also won four Grammy Awards and an MTV Video Music Award. As a songwriter, Seal received two Ivor Novello Awards for Best Song Musically and Lyrically from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for “Killer” (1990) and “Crazy” (1991).

He was a coach on The Voice Australia in 2012 and 2013,[10] and returned to Australia to work as a coach in 2017.

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Seal (sometimes referred to as Seal II to avoid confusion with the 1991 album of the same name) is the second eponymous studio album by British singer Seal. The album was released in 1994 on ZTT and Sire Records and features the worldwide smash hit single “Kiss from a Rose”.

The image on the cover has since become nearly synonymous with Seal, in that it has Seal01appeared on several singles covers and was reused for his greatest hits album. (wikipedia)

Fresh from his 1991 self-titled debut, Seal followed with another self-titled release. And true to form, it’s another stunning work, although it becomes clear that a musical maturation has taken place. Produced by ex-Buggles frontman Trevor Horn (Pet Shop Boys, ABC, Yes, Frankie Goes to Hollywood), Seal is far more enchanting than his debut. True, Seal is a bit too relaxed at times, but aside from that criticism, the record is lush with harmonies and over-the-top melodies. “Don’t Cry” flows with the luxuriant vibes of a hushed vocal and a bellowing string arrangement. Seal showcases his collaborative talent with “If I Could,” a duet featuring Canadian folkie Joni Mitchell. “Kiss from a Rose” and “Prayer for the Dying” established Seal as a household name after both became radio and television mainstays. The soul is there, hauntingly similar to singer Terence Trent D’Arby. But what’s so unique about Seal is his gift of transforming free-flowing songs into quick dancefloor tracks with a transcendent step into musical magic. His voice has a spell like that, and his second album reflects such skills. (by MacKenzie Wilson)

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Personnel:
Seal (vocals)
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Gus Isidore, Jamie Muhoberac, Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin – principal musicians
Joseph “Amp” Fiddler, Andy Duncan, Andy Newmark, Anne Dudley, Anthony Pleeth, Barry Wilde, Ben Cruft, Betsy Cook, Bill Benham, Bob Smissen, Boguslaw Kostecki, Carmen Rizzo, Charley Drayton, Chris Bruce, Chris Laurence, D’Influence, David Oladunni, David Theodore, Derek Watkins, Dick Morgan, Eddie Roberts, Garfield Jackson, Gavyn Wright, George Robertson, Gota Yashiki, Harvey Mason, Helen Liebmann, Ian Thomas, Jackie Shave, Jeff Beck, Jim McLeod, John Pigneguy, Jonathan Evans-Jones, Judd Proctor, Katie Wilkinson, Laurence Cottle, Luís Jardim, Maciej Rakowski, Mark Berrow, Mark Mann, Martin Loveday, Mike Brittain, Mike De Saulles, Nick Busch, Pandit Dinesh, Patrick Kiernan, Paul Kegg, Perry Montague-Mason, Peter Oxer, Phil Spalding, Pino Palladino, Richard Cottle, Rita Manning, Roger Garland, Roger Smith, Sam Maitland, Sarah Webb, Seal, Tim Weidner, Tony Stanton, Trevor Horn, Wilfred Gibson, William Orbit

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Tracklist:
01. Bring It On (Bruce/Coleman/Melvoin/Rizzo/Isidore/Seal) 3.57
02. Prayer For The Dying (Isidore/Seal) 5.29
03. Dreaming In Metaphors (Isidore/Seal) 5.51
04. Don’t Cry (Seal) 6.17
05. Fast Changes (Isidore/Seal) 5.40
06. Kiss From A Rose (Seal) 4.47
07. People Asking Why (Seal) 4.45
08. Newborn Friend (Seal) 4.04
09. If I Could (duet with Joni Mitchell) (Seal) 4.16
10. I’m Alive (Coleman/Melvoin/Rizzo/Isidore/Seal) 4.01
11. Bring It On (Reprise) (Bruce/Coleman/Melvoin/Rizzo/Isidore/Seal) 1.15CD1*
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Singles

The official website:
Website

K.D. Lang – All You Can Eat (1995)

FrontCover1Kathryn Dawn Lang OC AOE (born November 2, 1961), known by her stylized stage name k.d. lang, is a Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and occasional actress. Lang has won Juno Awards and Grammy Awards for her musical performances. Hits include the songs “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine”.

A mezzo-soprano, lang has contributed songs to movie soundtracks and has collaborated with musicians such as Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, Elton John, The Killers, Anne Murray, Ann Wilson, and Jane Siberry. She performed at the closing ceremony of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, and at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

Lang has also been active as an animal rights, gay rights, and Tibetan human rights activist. She is a tantric practitioner of the old school of Tibetan Buddhism.

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All You Can Eat is the third solo album by k.d. lang, released in 1995.

In a Rolling Stone review, Barry Walters wrote “The rhythms and sonic textures draw from the vintage soul of Al Green, while the stark arrangements and lush melodies embrace the primal sophistication of trend-bucking college-radio faves like Björk and [PJ] Harvey without evoking either. By holding back on vocal volume and letting her creativity loose, Kathryn Dawn ultimately expresses much more. Traditional torch and twang gave her something to master and rebel against, but sublimely sensual art pop has set lang free.”

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David Browne of Entertainment Weekly described the album as “Ten meditations on unrequited desire, courtship, rejection, and sex, All You Can Eat is both the most brazen and conventional album she’s ever made, and one of her best. With each new album, lang has gradually toned down the often cloying cowpunk giddiness of her early work. That course continues with Eat, a sober album that musically and lyrically picks up where Ingénue‘s hit ‘Constant Craving’ left off. The songs are a series of pleas to a lover to allow our tortured chanteuse into her life, each one highlighting varying degrees of optimism, confusion, and bleakness.”

The song “Sexuality” was also released on Friends Original TV Soundtrack. (wikipedia)

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k.d. lang followed through on the promise of her adult contemporary changeover Ingénue with All You Can Eat. A more experimental and realized record than its predecessor, there are more daring production touches on All You Can Eat — it’s clear that she has been listening to contemporary pop, not just torch songs. It isn’t immediately accessible — the production is low-key, the melodies are gentle and subtle (although her cutesy, tongue-in-cheek song titles suggest otherwise), and lang gives a nuanced, sophisticated performance. Though it lacks a standout song like the aching “Constant Craving,” All You Can Eat has a more consistent set of songs and, given time, is a more rewarding listen. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Teddy Borowiecki (keyboards, synthesizer)
Graham Boyle (percussion)
John Friesen (cello)
K.D. Lang (guitar, harp, ukelin, banjo, glass harmonica, keyboards, vocals)
Ben Mink (bass, guitar, violin, keyboard, ukulele, viola)
David Piltch (bass)
Randall Stoll (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. If I Were You 3.59
02. Maybe 4.11
03. You’re Ok 3.03
04. Sexuality 3.24
05. Get Some 3.39
06. Acquiesce 3.32
07. This 4.03
08. World Of Love 3.46
09. Infinite And Unforeseen 2.58
10. I Want It All 3.39

All songs written by K.D. Lang & Ben Mink

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More from K.D. Lang:
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The official website:
Website

Des’ree – Mind Adventures (1992)

FrontCover1Desirée Annette Weekes (born 30 November 1968), known by her stage name Des’ree  is an English pop recording artist who rose to popularity during the 1990s. She is best known for her hits “Feel So High”, “You Gotta Be”, “Life”, and “Kissing You” (from the soundtrack of the film Romeo + Juliet). At the 1999 Brit Awards she received the Brit Award for Best British female solo artist.

Des’ree was born in Croydon, South East London, England, on 30 November 1968. Her mother is from British Guiana (now Guyana), and her father is from Barbados. She was introduced to reggae, calypso and jazz music by her parents. At the age of 22, and with no connections in the music industry, she was signed in 1991 to Sony 550 when she asked her boyfriend to send a demo to the label, and they quickly contacted her.

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Des’ree’s debut single, “Feel So High”, was released in August 1991, a mere 12 weeks after her signing. The single did not initially reach the UK top 40, but hit #13 when it was re-released in January 1992. Her debut album Mind Adventures was released in February 1992. It received good reviews and hit the top 30 in the UK. She spent in 1992 touring as the opening act to Simply Red. In 1993, Des’ree collaborated with Terence Trent D’Arby on the song “Delicate”, which was released as a single and hit the UK top 20 and the US top 100. She ended the year singing with a host of other artists at the first concert of secular music at the Vatican City, on 23 December 1993, which was aired on Italian TV. The concert, named Concerto di Natale, has been held with different artists every Christmas in the years since.

Des`ree01In 1994, her single “You Gotta Be” hit the Billboard Hot 100 Top 5, peaking at number 5, and was a hit in the UK three times. “You Gotta Be” became the most played music video on VH1 and remained on the Billboard Recurrent Airplay Chart for 80 weeks. Following the single’s success, Des’ree’s second album, I Ain’t Movin’, sold in excess of 2.5 million copies worldwide. Her success led to an American tour with Seal in 1995. The following year, she contributed the song “Kissing You” to the soundtrack of the film William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. She appears in the film singing the song. In 1997, her song “Crazy Maze” was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Nothing to Lose with Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins. In the same year she provided vocals on “Plenty Lovin'” on Steve Winwood’s album Junction Seven.

In 1998, her single “Life” became a hit in Europe, reaching number 1 in many countries, as well as in Japan. In 1999, she won a Brit Award for the British Female Solo Artist category. The album from which the single was taken, Supernatural, was also released in 1998 to mostly positive reviews. It was somewhat successful in the UK, but was a commercial flop in the United States. In 2007, Des’ree also notably won a BBC poll for the “worst lyrics ever” for the single, the offending lyrics being “I don’t want to see a ghost/it’s the sight that I fear most/I’d rather have a piece of toast/watch the evening news”.[7] In 1999, she sang The Beatles’ song “Blackbird” at a concert in honour of Linda McCartney. At the concert, she met the group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and she collaborated with them on a cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine”, which was released in late 1999. After that, Des’ree put her music career on hold to focus on her private life and disappeared from the public eye.

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A compilation of rare songs and live tracks, Endangered Species, was released in 2000. In 2001 she contributed vocals to the charity single “Wake Up The Morning”, which was released in honour of the death of Damilola Taylor. Billed as Together As One, other contributors to the song were Gabrielle, Andrew Roachford and Courtney Pine. In 2002, she contributed a sung sonnet from William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice to the various artists album When Love Speaks. Sony released Dream Soldier in 2003. Only one track from the album was released as a single, “It’s Okay”, which peaked in the UK at number 69. The single did not chart in the US. The video, directed by Jake Nava, was shot in London’s Notting Hill. “Dream Soldier” was not a critical or commercial success. Des’ree was subsequently dropped by her label, Sony/550 Music, following the release of the album in March 2003.

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Shortly afterwards, she took a hiatus from music to focus on her interest in naturopathy, also training as a nutritionist. In 2008 she came out of her hiatus to perform at the O2 Arena for Young Voices’ “The Big Sing” charity concert. She helped break the record for “most people simultaneously singing the same song” by leading 600,000 schoolchildren across the United Kingdom in singing “You Gotta Be”. In 2011, she performed “You Gotta Be” at the wedding for George Medal recipient Paul Jacobs.[citation needed] That same year, she sung a lullaby on naturopath Julie Langton-Smith’s sleep therapy CD Sleep Talk Lullaby.

In September 2019, it was revealed that her fifth album, her first in sixteen years, would be titled A Love Story and would be released by her own label Stargazer Records on 11 October 2019. She had begun work on the album in 2012, but took a break to care for her mother.

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“Silent Hero”, written by Des’ree and Prince Sampson, featured in Spike Lee’s 1995 film Clockers, “Feel So High”, written by Des’ree and Michael Graves, featured in the 1996 film Set It Off, and “You Gotta Be” featured in The Object of My Affection and The Next Karate Kid. In 1997, Des’ree’s hit “Feel So High” was interpolated into the Janet Jackson song “Got ‘Til It’s Gone” from Jackson’s CD The Velvet Rope without due credit to Des’ree as a contributor. The maxi single, however, lists Des’ree and Michael Graves as two of the song’s writers, after winning a lawsuit against Jackson. She also considered suing Robyn and Cleopatra due to the similarities between their songs (“Show Me Love” and “Life Ain’t Easy” respectively) and “Feel So High”; however, nothing came of it. In 1999 she recorded a duet with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on a cover of the Bill Withers song “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

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Des’ree has won several awards, including a Brit Award, an Ivor Novello Award, World Music Award, Urban Music Award and a BMI Award for over five million plays of “You Gotta Be” in America alone. Des’ree also won a BBC poll for “Worst Pop Lyricist” for the 1998 single “Life”, though it went to number 1 in Japan, Spain and several other European countries.
Personal life
Des’ree is a vegetarian. In 2002, she did short courses in photography and ceramics at the Camberwell College of Arts.

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Mind Adventures is the debut album by British soul singer-songwriter Des’ree.[3] It was released on 17 February 1992 on the Sony Soho Square record label, and features the UK top 20 hit, “Feel So High”. The album became Des’ree’s first top 40 album, peaking at number 26 on the UK Albums Chart.

The album was not released in the United States at the time. It got a belated release on 4 April 1995, after Des’ree’s second album I Ain’t Movin’ had been released there the previous year and she was achieving success with the single “You Gotta Be”. Since “Feel So High” had been included on the US edition of I Ain’t Movin’, the US edition of Mind Adventures excluded it from its track list. (wikipedia)

The US edition:
USEdition

They have become rare, the true singer/songwriters: singers who can also compose. That’s why the black Londoner with the exotic stage name Des’ree, although only born in 1969, can consider herself in the top group of this rather mature genre. And probably also for lack of real competition. Des’ree’s third album, meaningfully titled Mind Adventures, like its two predecessors, sounded strongly of peace, joy, campfires and a fierce longing for a balanced, spiritually-oriented life. The tack was almost entirely acoustic and extremely sparsely orchestrated, which brought the soulful, smoky voice of its performer all the more to the fore. Des’ree, for all her funk and reggae leanings, certainly seemed like the calm herself: Mind Adventures, these are peaceful songs in an extremely peaceful ambience. The established competition looks old in comparison. The real adventures take place in the head. (Michael Fuchs-Gamböck)

Singles

This album is one of the earlier outputs from Des’ree’s incrediblely successful career. There is no mammoth hits on this album as these come later, but it is a wonderful collection of subtley different songs, each with their different melodies and each portraying a different message. Track 4 ‘why should I love you?’ in my opinion is the gem of the album, which is the classic des’ree ballad which shows just how bountiful her voice is. A close second is the upbeat track 6 ‘Competitive world’ which makes you feel positive and it’s very catchy.
Throughout the album des’ree’s voice appears to become stronger, and the low, sensual tones of her voice are like no other and sure to melt even the strongest cynics heart. I would recommend this ablum to any soul music fan – it takes a few listens to fall into the album fully, but once you do it will be a favourite for a very long time! (Pixiedeviluk)

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Personnel:
Ian Alleyne (guitar)
Gary Barnacle (saxophone)
Des’ree (vocals)
Pete Hinds (keyboards)
Ashley Ingram (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards)
Nick Ingram (strings)
Malcolm Joseph (bass)
Phil Legg (drums, bass, guitar)
Greg Lester (guitar)
Harry Morgan (percussion)
Trevor Murrell (drums)
Glenn Nightingale (guitar)
Fionn O’Lochlainn (bass)
Jeff Scantlebury (percussion)
Ritchie Stevens (drums)
Pete Wingfield (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Average Man (Des’ree/Graves) 5.07
02. Feel So High (Des’ree/Graves) 3.55
03. Sun Of ’79 (Des’ree) 5:14
04. Why Should I Love You (Des’ree) 4.17
05. Stand On My Own Ground (Des’ree/Graves) 4.09
06. Competitive World (Des’ree/Graves) 5.32
07. Mind Adventures (Des’ree) 4.46
08. Laughter (Des’ree) 4.49
09. Save Me (Des’ree) 5.30
10. Momma Please Don’t Cry (Des’ree) 4.28

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The official website:
Website

Chris Andrews – Lady Oh Lady + Something On My Mind (1966)

FrontCover1I want to reduce my single collection …

Christopher Frederick Andrews (born 15 October 1942) is an English-German singer-songwriter whose musical career started in the late 1950s.

Andrews was born in Romford, Essex, England, and by his mid teens had formed his own group, Chris Ravel and the Ravers. On 14 March 1959, he made his British television debut, performing on the Oh, Boy! show. He would later return in April to perform a cover of Cliff Richard’s, “Move It”.

For Adam Faith, Andrews wrote “The First Time” (No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart, 1963) and “We Are in Love” (No. 11, 1964), and then a string of hits for Sandie Shaw. They included “Girl Don’t Come” (No. 3, 1964/65), “I’ll Stop at Nothing” (No. 4, 1965), “Message Understood” (No. 6, 1965) and “Long Live Love” (No. 1, 1965). The latter remained a chart topper in the UK Singles Chart for three weeks. “Girl Don’t Come” was covered by Cher on her debut album, All I Really Want to Do.

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Also in 1965, Andrews as a solo artist, got to No. 3 in the same listings with “Yesterday Man”, which peaked in Germany at No. 1 for four weeks; followed up with a No. 13 hit in the UK “To Whom It Concerns”. The instrumental section of this song was used as the theme for RTÉ’s long-running TV programme, The Late Late Show, until 1999, and a re-arranged version returned as the show’s theme music in September 2009. As well as obtaining a high placing in the UK chart, “Yesterday Man” climbed to No. 1 in Ireland and Germany. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Later releases were not as successful, but his own hits are seen as early examples of bluebeat influenced white pop music. Although his chart appearances dwindled in Britain by 1966, his chart topping success continued in mainland Europe for a number of years, particularly in Germany, and Andrews often recorded in foreign languages.

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It is possible that Chris Andrews’ huge success in Germany was connected to the fact that his two UK hits, at least, were rhythmically redolent of Oom-pah music (although not intentionally so; see above), thus making them more acceptable to older German audiences who would not have liked many of the other Anglophone songs which became hits there.

In South Africa, his later single releases proved particularly popular, with “Pretty Belinda” (1969), “Carol OK” and “Brown Eyes” (both 1970) all topping the charts there. “Yo Yo” reached No. 7 at the end of 1970.

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Andrews remains active in his career as a singer-songwriter, working primarily in continental Europe and in the United Kingdom. He lives with his second wife Alexandra, who is also his manager, in Selm, Germany, and Mallorca. Because of the Brexit vote, Andrews also obtained German citizenship in 2016. (wikipedia)

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And here´s one of his countless singles from the Sixties … As far as I know, this single was only released in Germany.

And “Lady Oh Lady” is a real hot Beat-number … but was not so sucessful as “I´m Her Yesterday Man”.

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Personnel:
Chris Andrews (vocals)
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Ken Woodman Orchestra

Ken Woodman

Tracklist:
01. Lady Oh Lady (Andrews) 2.54
02. Something On My Mind (Andrews) 2.20

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Latin Quarter – Live At Glastonbury Festival (1986)

FrontCover1Latin Quarter is a British band formed in 1983. They had one top 20 single “Radio Africa” in the United Kingdom.

The British radio were cautious in the eighties to play their singles because of their political based lyrics. They became more popular in Germany and in northern Europe.

Latin Quarter released their latest album, Releasing the Sheep, on 29 October 2021. Their sound mixes elements of pop, rock, reggae and folk with largely political based lyrics.

Latin Quarter began when ex-printer and founder-member Steve Skaith left Liverpool for London in 1982 to write songs for music publishers Chappell. Skaith was also working on some rather more radical music with lyrics from an old friend of his called Mike Jones, both were members from the left wing political group Big Flame.

Mike Jones himself did not play with Latin Quarter, but he wrote the lyrics to the songs. The former technical school teacher from Liverpool had already been writing political songs for eight years and had been a friend of Steve Skaith’s since grammar school.

Their political viewpoint were sometimes reflected in the choice of subject matter and lyrics of Latin Quarter’s output.

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Latin Quarter were the first band to be managed by Marcus Russell (who is from Ebbw Vale along with Mike Jones). Russell formed the Ignition Management in 1983.

Skaith and Jones formed Latin Quarter in autumn 1983 with guitarist Richard Wright, a classically-trained musician and ex-member of the Inversions, a band active on the jazz/funk scene. Yona Dunsford (vocals/piano) and Carol Douet (vocals/percussion) joined the trio at the end of the year, with the line-up completed by Richard Stevens (drums), Greg Harewood (bass) and Steve Jeffries (keyboards). After the band’s first sporadic London gigs in 1984, ex-Police producer Nigel Gray recorded two of Latin Quarter’s songs at his own expense, and the band released Radio Africa on its own independent record label, Ignition in September 1984.

The band was signed by Rockin’ Horse Records, an offshoot of Arista Records, and completed work on their debut album Modern Times. After being re-released, Radio Africa finally became a UK hit at the start of 1986 when it reached number 19 in the UK Singles Chart.

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Jones described their first album Modern Times as “a veritable manifesto”. The album only spent two weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at Number 91, but was a top twenty hit in Germany and Sweden and sold well throughout Europe. They played at Glastonbury Festival 21 June 1986 and at the ‘Rock for Peace Festival’ in East Berlin at the Palace of the Republic in February 1987.

Darren Abraham and Martin Lascalles were new members on the follow-up Mick And Caroline, released 1987. An album that was not as successful as the debut. Skaith later told in an interview that he was not satisfied with Jason Corsaros production of the second album. Corsaro was a Grammy Award Winning music engineer and record producer.

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The band had slimmed down to the quartet of Skaith, Wright, Harewood and Dunsford by their third album Swimming Against the Stream, released 1989 on the RCA label in Germany. They recorded the album in Los Angeles, with producer David Kershenbaum and engineer Paul McKenna, but the album was not released in the US. With all lyrics still written by Jones, that album was dedicated to the eleven workers at Dunne’s stores, Dublin, who were sacked for refusing to handle South Africa goods. Their three year fight against dismissal culminated in the Irish Government’s ban on the importation of South Africa Agricultural produce. The single Dominion was originally recorded for the T.V. documentary series Animal Traffic, directed by Arpad Bondy & Ron Orders

After low sales in the UK the band originally split up. In October 1990, however, another album, entitled Nothing Like Velvet was released, which was made up of unreleased demos, alternative versions and live tracks. Judging by the sleeve notes, the band agreed to the release of these songs.

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However, the members, they all stayed friends, meeting each other privately. Skaith, Wright and Jones continued as Latin Quarter, and they collaborated with The Bhundu Boys on the latter’s 1993 Friends on the Road album, including a re-working of Radio Africa and two new songs written by members of both bands. Latin Quarter, released the albums Long Pig 1993 and Bringing Rosa Home 1997, both on German record labels. Both albums were recorded with session musicians and Latin Quarter finally went on hiatus in 1998.

Jones went on to run courses in Popular Music at the University of Liverpool. Skaith went to live in Mexico where he formed the Steve Skaith Band with Mexican musicians, and released the albums Mexile 2003, Empires and Us 2005 and Imaginary Friend 2007. He then returned to England and re-recorded some early Latin Quarter songs on Latin Quarter Revisited 2010.

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In 2011, Skaith and lyricist Jones re-formed Latin Quarter with original vocalist Yona Dunsford, bass player Greg Harewood and keyboard player Steve Jeffries. The band toured Germany and UK and they released the albums Ocean Head in 2012 and Tilt in 2014. Chris Rea was a guest star playing slide guitar on the Tilt album. Steve Skaith re-recorded acoustic versions of Latin Quarter-songs on Bare Bones in 2015.

In September 2016, Latin Quarter released The Imagination of Thieves, now featuring Skaith, Jeffries, Martin Ditcham (Drums), Yo Yo Buys (Bass and Guitars) and Mary Carewe (vocals).

In February 2018, the new track Pantomime of Wealth was released as a digital release on Westpark Music. The album with the same name was released 13 April 2018.

In April 2019, Latin Quarter released The Colour Scheme, now as a trio featuring Skaith, Jeffries and Carewe. The album consisted mainly acoustic rearrangements of early Latin Quarter songs plus a couple of songs from the Steve Skaith Band albums.

In October 2021 they released the album, Releasing The Sheep. (wikipedia)

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And here´s  a wonderful, a brilliant live recording (taken from the legendary “BBC In Concert” series).

Their music was a very special form of pop music, very subtle and always a little fragile. And the lyrics were much needed comments on all those damn topics of those years … Unfortunately, these problems have not really been solved to date, on the contrary.

Latin Quarter were and are an uncomfortable band, unfortunately indispensable in “modern times”.

Enjoy this rare live recording !

Recorded live at the Glastonbury Festival, Worthy Farm, Pilton/UK, June-21, 1986

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Personnel:
Carol Douet (vocals, percussion)
Yona Dunsford (keyboards, vocals)
Greg Harewood (bass)
Steve Jeffries (keyboards)
Steve Skaith (vocals, guitar)
Richard Stevens (drums)
Richard Wright (guitar)Inlets

Tracklist:
01. Sandinista (Skaith/Jones) 5.23
02. Remember (Skaith/Jones) 4.32
03. Freight Elevator (Jeffries/Jones) 5.05
04. See Him (Skaith/Jones) 5.07
05. Truth About John (Skaith/Jones) 4.03
06. Eddie (Skaith/Jones/Keefe) 3.03
07. No Rope As Long As Time (Skaith 5.02
08. I (Together) (Skaith/Jones) 4.20
09. Radio Africa (Skaith/Jones/Keefe)  6:35
10. The Night (Skaith/Jones) 4.32
11. Pyramid Label (Skaith/Jones) 8.36

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Kiki Dee – I´ve Got The Music In Me (2001)

FrontCover1Pauline Matthews (born 6 March 1947), better known by her stage name Kiki Dee, is an English singer. Known for her blue-eyed soul vocals, she was the first female singer from the UK to sign with Motown’s Tamla Records.

Dee is best known for her 1973 hit “Amoureuse”, her 1974 hit “I’ve Got the Music in Me” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, her 1976 duet with Elton John, which went to number 1 on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her 1981 single “Star” became the theme song for the talent show Opportunity Knocks when it was revived by the BBC in 1987. In 1993, she performed another duet with John for his Duets album, a cover version of Cole Porter’s “True Love”, which reached number 2 in the UK. During her career, she has released 40 singles, three EPs and 12 albums.

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Dee was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. At the age of 10 she won a local talent contest, and at 16 she had her first paid job in show business. “I realised when I sang at family parties and Christmases I’d suddenly get everyone’s attention and, being the youngest of three, I thought what a brilliant attention-seeking ploy it was,” stated Dee in a 2013 interview. She went on to say: “My older brother had a lot of Elvis on vinyl and really that was my first introduction to music during the Fifties.”

Aged 16, Dee worked at Boots in Bradford during the day, whilst in the evenings she sang songs with a dance band in Leeds. A record scout liked her singing and invited her to London to do an audition. There, in 1963, she signed as a solo artist to Fontana Records.

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After singing with a local band in Bradford in the early 1960s, Dee began her recording career as a session singer. She sang backing vocals for Dusty Springfield, among others, but did not achieve solo success in the UK for many years. In 1963, Dee released her first single, “Early Night”, the first of eleven singles on Fontana, none of which reached the charts. Her 1966 release “Why Don’t I Run Away From You” (a cover of Tami Lynn’s “I’m Gonna Run Away From You”) was a big hit on Radio London and Radio Caroline, and she sang the B-side “Small Town” in her appearance in Dateline Diamonds the same year. Also in 1966, she achieved wider coverage by singing “Take a Look at Me” in the hit comedy, Doctor in Clover. She brought out an EP, Kiki In Clover – which included “Take a Look at Me” – at the same time as the film’s release.

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She recorded her debut album, I’m Kiki Dee, in 1968 which included a series of Phil Spector-style tracks and covers. Her 1968 release “On a Magic Carpet Ride”, which was originally a B-side, has remained popular on the Northern soul circuit. Much of her early recorded work for Fontana Records, was released on 24 January 2011, on the CD compilation I’m Kiki Dee.

Songwriter Mitch Murray created her stage name, and penned her first single, “Early Night”. In the United States she became the first white British artist to be signed by Motown, releasing her first Motown single in 1970.

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In the days before BBC Radio 1, Dee was a regular performer of cover versions on BBC Radio, and she starred with a group of session singers in the BBC Two singalong series, One More Time. She also appeared in an early episode of The Benny Hill Show in January 1971, performing the Blood, Sweat and Tears hit, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”. Nevertheless, it was only after she signed with Elton John’s label, The Rocket Record Company, that she became a household name in the UK. Her first major solo hits were “Amoureuse”[1] (written by Véronique Sanson, with English lyrics by Gary Osborne) (1973) and “I’ve Got the Music in Me” (written by Tobias Stephen Boshell), the latter credited to the Kiki Dee Band (1974). In addition to her burgeoning career as a lead vocalist, she could sometimes be heard singing backing vocals on various John recordings, such as “All the Girls Love Alice” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and various tracks on Rock of the Westies.

Kiki Dee, Ronnie Wood and Mick Hucknall perform during the Helping The Heart of Music Concert in aid of the PRS members benevolent fund starring the ‘Faces’ supported by the ‘Rhythm Kings’ on October 25, 2009 in London, England:
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Her biggest hit came in 1976, when she replaced an ailing Dusty Springfield for the recording of a duet with John, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (pseudonymously written by John and lyricist Bernie Taupin). The single reached number 1 in both the UK and US, remaining at the top for six weeks in the UK. At the end of the summer, she played as support act to Queen at their Hyde Park concert in front of a crowd of 150,000 people. Prior to the concert, in an interview for Record Mirror, she stated, “My confidence is at an all-time high.”

After a quiet period in the late 1970s, Dee launched a comeback in 1981, releasing one of her biggest hits, “Star”, written by Doreen Chanter of the Chanter Sisters. This later became the theme music to the BBC1 programme Opportunity Knocks between 1987 and 1990. Dee joined forces again with John in 1981, recording a cover of the Four Tops’ song “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever” which was written by Ivy Jo Hunter and Stevie Wonder. Both of these were included on her album Perfect Timing, which became a modest hit on the album chart, and she supplied backing vocals for John’s 1983 album Too Low for Zero. Dee also sang the song “What Can’t Speak Can’t Lie” (1983), composed and recorded by the Japanese jazz fusion group Casiopea, and with lyrics by Gary Osborne.

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She performed at Live Aid in 1985, reprising “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with John, and performing backing vocals on the other songs in his set. She also contributed backing vocals to John’s 1992 album The One, and a year later recorded “True Love” with John for his 1993 album Duets.

Dee released the live album Almost Naked, a joint effort with Carmelo Luggeri in 1995, followed by the studio albums Where Rivers Meet (1998) and The Walk Of Faith (2005) with Luggeri. In September 2013, Dee and Luggeri released their third studio album, A Place Where I Can Go, on Spellbound Records. They have been touring together ever since.

Dee’s single “Sidesteppin’ with a Soul Man,” released in October 2013, was her 40th single release.

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Dee has also appeared in musical theatre, notably in the lead role in Willy Russell’s West End musical Blood Brothers, in which she took on the role originally played by Barbara Dickson for the 1988 production and recording. She received an Olivier Award nomination in 1989 in the Best Actress in a Musical category. In 1990, she contributed to the last recording studio collaboration between Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, on the album Freudiana, performing “You’re On Your Own” and part of “No One Can Love You Better Than Me”.

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In 2008, Dee’s first DVD was released. Under The Night Sky was a collaboration with guitarist Carmelo Luggeri, filmed live at the Bray Studios in London; the music was produced by Ted Carfrae. That same year, several albums from her earlier 1970s–1980s Rocket catalogue were re-released by EMI Records, including an expanded edition of Almost Naked with extra tracks, such as a cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” and a new take on “Sugar on the Floor”. The same year, Demon Records (UK) issued a remastered edition of Perfect Timing, with several bonus tracks, including an alternate mix of “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever.”

Dee had previously starred in Pump Boys and Dinettes in London’s West End, at the Piccadilly Theatre, from 20 September 1984 to 8 June 1985.

In 2019, Dee was portrayed by actress Rachel Muldoon in the Elton John biopic Rocketman.

In her 40s, Dee was diagnosed with uterine cancer. (wikipedia)

KikiDee04And here´s a nice low budget sampler with many of their hits (includig two sngles from the Sixties) … she had a real good Pop-Soul feeling !

I think she could have done a lot more with her voice.

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Personnel:
Kiki Dee (vocals)
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many, many studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Amoureuse (Sanson/Osbourne) (1973) 4.10
02. Loving & Free (Dee) (1973) 4.21
03. Chicago (Conrad/Goodman) (1977) 4.21
04. I’ve Got The Music In Me (Boshell) (1974) 5.03
05. (You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am (Harrison/Williams) (1975) 4.00
06. Step By Step (Boshell) (1974) 4.33
07. Dark Side Of Your Soul (Dee/Lasley/Zane) (1978) 4.04
08. Why Don’t I Run Away From You (Berns) (1974) 2.40
09. Runnin’ Out Of Fools (Ahlert/Rodgers) (1965) 2.35
10. Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing (AShford/Simpson) (1975) 2.26
11. One Jump Ahead Of The Storm (Seals/Joseph) (1978) 3.26
12. First Thing In The Morning (Bosell) (1977) 5.49
13. Talk To Me (Dee/Lasley/Zane) (1978) 3.29
14. You Need Help (Boshell) (1976) 6.04
15. You’re Holding Me Too Tight (Golde/Weill) 3.59
16. One Step (Snow/Ballard) (1978) 3.31
17. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Gaudio/Crewe) (1968) 3.07
18. Stay With Me, Baby (Ragovoy/Weiss) (1978) 3.59

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Singles

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The official website:
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