Jamiroquai – Emergency On Planet Earth (1993)

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Active since the early ’90s, Jamiroquai have amassed a steady stream of hits in their native U.K. and experienced chart success in just about every other area of the world, with an irresistible blend of house rhythms and ’70s-era soul/funk (the latter, especially, leading early on to claims of Stevie Wonder imitations). The band has gone through several lineup changes during its career, but through it all, their leader has remained singer/songwriter Jason Kay (aka J.K.). Born on December 30, 1969, in Stretford, Manchester, Kay’s mother, Karen, was a jazz singer who regularly performed at nightclubs, and in the ’70s had her own TV show. After leaving home at the age of 15, Kay found himself homeless and in trouble with the law (by committing petty crimes to get by). After a near-death experience (where he was attacked and stabbed) and being arrested for a crime he did not commit, Kay decided to return home, where he chose to pursue a legitimate career over crime: music. Kay didn’t have a band to back up his compositions, but he quickly came up with his future project’s name, Jamiroquai, a name that combined the name of a Native American tribe (the Iroquois) along with the music-based word, jam.

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Kay’s home demos caught the attention of the record label Acid Jazz, which issued Jamiroquai’s debut single “When You Gonna Learn?” in late 1992. With Kay enlisting the help of others (Jamiroquai’s best-known lineup included drummer Derrick McKenzie, keyboard player Toby Smith, bassist Stuart Zender, and vibraphonist Wallis Buchanan), the single was a success and was soon followed by a long-term and lucrative recording contract with Sony. Jamiroquai’s full-length debut, Emergency on Planet Earth, followed in 1993 and became a major hit in their native England (peaking at number one on the charts), spawning such Top Ten hit singles as “Too Young to Die” and “Blow Your Mind.” The band’s second release, The Return of the Space Cowboy in 1995, managed to steer Jamiroquai clear of the sophomore jinx that affects so many up-and-coming bands by out-selling its predecessor in Europe and was a sizeable hit in Japan, as well.

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With most of the world dancing to Jamiroquai’s beat, America was next in line for the band’s third effort, 1996’s Traveling Without Moving. The album spawned the worldwide hit “Virtual Insanity,” for which an award-winning video was filmed and helped the album achieve platinum status in the States by the year’s end (as well as a highlighted performance at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards). Despite achieving breakthrough success, bassist Zender opted to leave the group during sessions for its follow-up, which resulted in Kay scrapping almost an entire album’s worth of new tracks in order to start from scratch with a new bassist (the slot would eventually go to newcomer Nick Fyffe). During the downtime, Jamiroquai contributed a brand-new track, “Deeper Underground,” to the soundtrack for the 1998 movie Godzilla.

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But the long wait between albums seemed to kill Jamiroquai’s momentum in the U.S. slackened when 1999’s Synkronized was largely ignored (although back home and across the globe, it was another major commercial success). Subsequently, it appeared as though the majority of Jamiroquai’s U.S. media attention focused on non-music-related events, such as the band turning down a million-dollar offer to play at a concert on New Year’s Eve 1999, and when Kay was accused of assaulting a tabloid photographer (with the charges later being dropped).

It didn’t take Jamiroquai as long the next time around to issue another album, with A Funk Odyssey hitting the racks two years later in 2001. Kay also helmed a volume in the mix-album series Late Night Tales. From there, Jamiroquai spent the next two years gathering material for a sixth studio album. Dynamite, which was finally released in 2005, was written and recorded in Spain, Italy, Costa Rica, Scotland, New York, Los Angeles, and Jamiroquai’s own Buckinghamshire studio. The group’s seventh studio album, 2010’s Rock Dust Light Star, dutifully blended the disco and electronic leanings of 2005’s Dynamite with the organic, roots-based soul of the band’s 1993 debut.

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In 2013, Jamiroquai marked their 20th Anniversary by reissuing remastered versions of their first three albums. Also around this time, they announced they had begun work on a new album and staged several short European tours. In 2017, they returned with their eighth studio album, Automaton, featuring the singles “Automaton” and “Cloud 9.” Produced by Kay along with keyboardist Matt Johnson, the album found the band exploring the themes of rising technology and the deterioration of human interaction, albeit with all of the electro-funky trappings that Jamiroquai have become so well known for. (by Greg Prato)

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And here´s their debut album:

Emergency on Planet Earth is the debut studio album by English funk and acid jazz band Jamiroquai, released on 14 June 1993 under Sony Soho Square. Prior its release, the band debuted in 1992 with “When You Gonna Learn” under Acid Jazz Records, and front-man Jay Kay was given a major-label deal with Sony Music. The album was produced as Kay formed the band and is characterised by its acid jazz foundations, layers of instrumentation and socially charged lyrics.

Critical reviews of the album were generally positive and noted its 1970s stylings. It reached number one in the UK Albums Chart and sold over 1,200,000 copies worldwide. Its single “Too Young to Die” peaked at number 10 in the UK Singles Chart. A remastered version of the album was released in 2013 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the album’s release.

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“I wanted this to be an album, not a collection of three minute songs. I didn’t want tracks to be rigid, stuck in that verse, chorus, verse, chorus thing. All the people I’d been listening to were jazz-fusion bands, they didn’t do three minute tracks, they just played.” (Kay, 2013)

While Jay Kay was sending songs to record companies, he wrote the first track “When You Gonna Learn” after taking inspiration from Native American and First Nation peoples and their philosophies, and from his anger towards the shooting of elephants in a television programme. The song also “takes on everything from racism to corporate greed” according to Interview. Kay said the track laid down “the sound, the flavor [and] the concept” of the album. After he had it recorded, Kay fought with his producer, who took out half the lyrics and produced the song based on what was charting at the time. With the track restored to his preference, the experience helped Kay realise he “wanted a proper live band with a proper live sound”. The band would be named “Jamiroquai”, a blend of the words “jam” and the name of a Native American confederacy, the Iroquois.

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Kay gradually gathered band members, including Wallis Buchanan, who played the didgeridoo, and Stuart Zender, who became the band’s bassist by audition. Kay’s manager scouted keyboardist Toby Smith, who joined the group as Kay’s songwriting partner. Together, they wrote the second track “Too Young to Die”, a song also inspired by Kay’s anger towards the wars he had seen on television. Regarding how the track was written, Kay said in 2013: “I have a very limited musical ability in terms of playing”, so he would sing the instruments as Smith would work out the chords. The two tracks would shape up the album, they follow up to the “high-kicking” funk track “Hooked Up.” With the fourth track “If I Like It I Do It” Kay said it reminded him of “Harvest for the World” by Isley Brothers. The former song’s lyrics have been described as anarchist: “The kids want the system breaking down/Not higher education/If it ain’t no natural law/Then you can keep your regulations”. “Music of the Mind” is a laid-back Latin fusion track that takes inspiration from Flora Purim’s song “Moon Dreams”.

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With the title track, Kay said that it ultimately defined the concept of the album: “The whole groove of it, all the syncopation, the strings gliding over the top… and the lyrics were hammer to the nail: ‘The kids need education/and the streets are never clean/…is that life that I am witnessing/or just another wasted birth'”. Kay wanted to re-create the Headhunters’ song “God Made Me Funky” with his own track “Whatever It Is I Just Can’t Stop”, and credits having “a real drummer” for its “funky feel”. “Blow Your Mind” is a soft track intended to last eight and half minutes long. The track was recorded in one take, Kay said: “the brass was feeling so nice that when we got to the end I didn’t want it to stop, so I motioned to the guys to go again, which is why there’s the reprise.” For the ten-minute track “Revolution 1993”, the track has “paramilitary drums” and “grinding bass”. With the lyrics, Kay said “it rounded off all the other things Ive been saying on the album”. It also has “crisscrossed ascending and descending lines, James Brown-like brass punches, a female rhythm and blues choir, Mitch Mitchellesque drums, African percussion, up-front funk bass and elements of hip hop, fusion, acid jazz, technopop and ragamuffin.” The album ends with the “didgeridoo workout” track “Didgin’ Out”.

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Emergency on Planet Earth was released on 17 June 1993 under Sony Soho Square.[9][5] In the United States, it was released under Columbia. Its inner sleeve contains a manifesto by Kay regarding the environment. The album reached number 1 in the UK albums chart and was certified Platinum, indicating it has sold 300,000 copies in the country. It became the fastest selling album in the country since Faith (1987) by George Michael. In France, it ranked number 7 in its SNEP Album Charts. In the country’s year end chart, it ranked number 14. The album ranked number 5 in the Swiss Album Charts, where it was certified Gold. In Japan, it ranked number 40 in the Oricon Charts, receiving a Platinum certification. The album reached number 15 in the Dutch Album Top 100 and sold 50,000 copies, certifying it as Gold. It also reached number 84 on its year end chart. Overall, the album sold 1,200,000 copies. In 2013, Emergency on Planet Earth was one of the first three albums to be re-issued on the band’s 20th anniversary campaign, also containing a bonus disc with remixes, demos, live performances and b-sides.

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“When You Gonna Learn” was released as the lead single from the album on 19 October 1992 via Acid Jazz Records. The band were offered major label contracts after its release and Kay signed with Sony. The single charted at number 52 in the UK Singles Chart. The music video for the song “mix[es] images of cruelty, blight, disaster and genocide”. Because it featured the Holocaust, it was banned in American MTV. “Too Young to Die” was released as the second single from the album on 1 March 1993, reaching number 10 in the UK. “Blow Your Mind” was released as the third single from the album on 24 May 1993.[30] The single peaked at #12 on the UK Singles Chart. “Emergency on Planet Earth” was released as the fourth single from the album on 2 August 1993. The track peaked at number 32 on the UK Singles Chart.[28] “When You Gonna Learn” was re-released by Sony Records as the fifth and final single from the album on 13 September 1993. The re-release was slightly more successful than the original, peaking at number 28 on the UK Singles Chart.

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Critics have noted the layers of instrumentation on Emergency on Planet Earth, including its horn and string arrangements and the digeredoo, which “few ’70s soul artists employed”, according to J.D. Considine. Praising Kay’s vocals, Christopher Dawes of Melody Maker said “Stevie Wonder and Aaron Neville were the instant reference points.” Entertainment Weekly described the album as helping the band “turn out gritty organic grooves with enthusiasm.” Q magazine gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, describing it as “A funky and beautiful record, a contender for best British soul album of the ’90s, and frankly better than anything Stevie Wonder has made since Hotter Than July.” BBC Music claims – “it laid the foundations for an acid-jazz sound that the band would continue to build upon for the next decade and a half.” Mike Zwerin of The New York Times called the album “a rare treasure, contemporary pop music with mass potential worth a detour”. Tony Parsons of The Daily Telegraph stated that the band “take[s] every cliche in the soul handbook and somehow turn it into a thing of beauty. [Kay] calls women ‘sexy ladies’ and says things like ‘you blow my mind’ and ‘no more wars,’ yet somehow these stale sentiments are rendered fresh and fragrant and really rather wonderful.”

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A Billboard Magazine reviewer argued that “although Kaye [sic] tries to bring a modern vibe to his music, mostly he operates within ’70s parameters.” David Sinclair of The Times wrote that the band “have recorded a debut which combines youthful brio with musicianship of the very highest order. And, so long as one takes the absurdly earnest, politically correct tone of the lyrics with a sizable pinch of salt, it’s a lot of fun too.” Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post questioned the band’s socially charged lyrics, and further wrote of the album: “Derived from the lush, silky ’70s funk and soul of Philadelphia International and Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai’s sound is about as revolutionary as a nonreturnable bottle of Pepsi.”

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A year after the album’s release, Jamiroquai were nominated for Brit Award for Best New Artist, Best British Group and Best British Dance Act. Emergency on Planet Earth was nominated for Best British Album and the music video for “Too Young to Die” was nominated for Best British Video. In 1996, Mixmag placed the album at number 17 The 50 Best Dance Albums of All Time. Fnac ranked the album at 229 in its 1000 Best Albums of All Time listed it as a Key album in The Ideal Discography: 823 Indispensables Albums (2015). In their year end lists, The Face ranked it at number 14 Musikexpress at number 34. The album also was listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. (wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Gary Barnacle (flute, saxophone)
Simon Bartholomew (guitar)
Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo)
Richard Edwards (trombone)
Nick van Gelder (drums)
Kofi Kari Kari (percussion)
Jay Kay (vocals)
Glen Nightingale (guitar)
Maurizio Ravalico (percussion)
Toby Smith (keyboards)
John Thirkell (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Stuart Zender (bass)
DJ D-Zire (turntables)
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Gavin Dodds (guitar)
Andrew Levy (bass)
Mike Smith (saxophone, flute)
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background vocals:
Linda Lewis – Vanessa Simon
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The Reggae Philharmonic Strings (strings)

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Tracklist:
01. When You Gonna Learn (Digeridoo) (Kay) 3.50
02. Too Young To Die (Kay/Smith) 6.05
03. Hooked Up (Kay/Smith) 4.35
04. If I Like It, I Do It (Kay/van Gelder) 4.52
05. Music Of The Mind (Kay/Smith) 6.22
06. Emergency On Planet Earth (Kay/Smith) 4.05
07. Whatever It Is, I Just Can’t Stop (Kay) 4.07
08. Blow Your Mind (Kay/Smith) 8.31
09. Revolution 1993 (Kay/Smith) 10.15
10. Didgin’ Out (Kay/Buchanan) 2.37

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The official website:
Website

Neil Young – Unplugged (1993)

FrontCover1Neil Percival Young OC OM (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian-American singer, musician and songwriter. After embarking on a music career in Winnipeg in the 1960s, Young moved to Los Angeles, joining Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and others. Since the beginning of his solo career with his backing band Crazy Horse, Young has released many critically acclaimed and important albums, such as Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, Harvest, On the Beach and Rust Never Sleeps. He was a part-time member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Young has received several Grammy and Juno Awards. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him twice: in 1995 as a solo artist and in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield.[6] In 2000, Rolling Stone named Young No. 34 on their list of the 100 greatest musical artists. According to Acclaimed Music, he is the seventh most celebrated artist in popular music history. His guitar work, deeply personal lyrics and signature high tenor singing voice define his long career.

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He also plays piano and harmonica on many albums, which frequently combine folk, rock, country and other musical genres. His often distorted electric guitar playing, especially with Crazy Horse, earned him the nickname “Godfather of Grunge” and led to his 1995 album Mirror Ball with Pearl Jam. More recently he has been backed by Promise of the Real. 21 of his albums and singles have been certified Gold and Platinum in U.S by RIAA certification.

Young directed (or co-directed) films using the pseudonym “Bernard Shakey”, including Journey Through the Past (1973), Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Human Highway (1982), Greendale (2003), and CSNY/Déjà Vu (2008). He also contributed to the soundtracks of the films Philadelphia (1993) and Dead Man (1995).

Young has lived in California since the 1960s but retains Canadian citizenship. He was awarded the Order of Manitoba in 2006 and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2009. He became a United States citizen, taking dual citizenship, in 2020.

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Unplugged is a live album by Canadian / American singer-songwriter Neil Young, released on June 15, 1993 on Reprise. Recorded on February 7, 1993, the album is an installment of the MTV series, Unplugged. The performance was also released on VHS.

The recording of Unplugged was reportedly rife with tension, with Young displeased with the performances of many of his band members. The released version was his second attempt at recording a set suitable for airing and release.

The track “Stringman” was recorded for Young’s famously unreleased studio album, Chrome Dreams (1977). (wikipedia)

Taped on February 7, 1993, and first broadcast on MTV on March 10, Neil Young’s Unplugged appearance was released as a home video to coincide with the release of an audio CD version. This 73-minute tape ran seven minutes longer than the album, the extra time consisting of applause, guitar tuning, and a few scattered asides (“Aw, it’s nothin’, really,” Young said, for example, after an audience member called out, “Thank you, Neil”). Young was anything but videogenic in his leather jacket, Harley Davidson T-shirt, jeans, and boots, sitting hunched over his guitar, often scowling as he turned his face, hooded with unruly, grey-flecked hair and partially covered by a week-old stubble, to the microphone. Yet his casual appearance and introspective demeanor served to focus attention on his music.

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And a 14-song set that on record seemed a random selection from across his career made more sense on video, as Young began with a series of early songs, accompanying himself on guitar and harmonica, then moving to keyboards and gradually bringing other musicians on-stage to augment the sound. The songs were wistful, midtempo reflections on stardom, love, and the passage of time. Some were familiar, including “Mr. Soul” and “Like a Hurricane,” and were given new treatments; others were obscure or even previously unrecorded (“Stringman”). But all were melodic and inviting, especially the selections from Harvest Moon, including the title tune, which featured a broom as a percussion instrument. Unplugged was a low-key Neil Young performance that emphasized the consistency of his work over time and the repetition of certain lyrical themes and musical tendencies. If it avoided some of his best-known folk and country material, it did contain a few crowd-pleasers, and it brought up several forgotten tunes for reconsideration. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Oscar Butterworth (drums)
Tim Drummond (bass)
Ben Keith (dobro)
Nils Lofgren (guitar, autoharp, accordion, background vocals)
Spooner Oldham – piano, pump organ
Neil Young – guitar, vocals harmonica, piano, pump organ
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Larry Cragg (broom on 09.)
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background vocals:
Astrid Young – Nicolette Larson

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Tracklist:
01. The Old Laughing Lady 5.15
02. Mr. Soul 3.54
03. World On A String 3.02
04. Pocahontas 5.06
05. Stringman 4.01
06. Like A Hurricane 4.44
07. The Needle And The Damage Done 2.52
08. Helpless 5.47
09. Harvest Moon 5.20
10. Transformer Man 3.36
11. Unknown Legend 4.46
12. Look Out For My Love 5.58
13. Long May You Run 5.21
14. From Hank To Hendrix 5.50

All songs written by Neil Young

In addition to the tracks found on this album, Neil Young performed the following songs live during the performance:

“Dreamin’ Man” – “Sample And Hold” – “War Of Man” – “Winterlong”

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More from Neil Young:
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The official website:
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The Blues Band – Homage (1993)

FrontCover1I can’t understand why I haven’t featured this band on this blog before, because they are one of the best bands in British blues:

The Blues Band is a British blues band formed in 1979 by Paul Jones, former lead vocalist and harmonica player with Manfred Mann, and guitarist Tom McGuinness also of Manfred Mann and The Roosters. The band’s first line-up also included bassist Gary Fletcher, slide-guitarist Dave Kelly who had previously played with The John Dummer Band, Howling Wolf and John Lee Hooker and drummer Hughie Flint, of John Mayall’s Blues Breakers and McGuinness Flint, the band he formed with Tom McGuinness. In 1982 Flint left and was replaced by former Family drummer Rob Townsend.

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Their first album The Official Blues Band Bootleg Album, a mixture of blues standards and original songs featured the Jones and McGuinness composition “Come On In” and their long-standing stage favourite “Flatfoot Sam”. This album initially attracted no interest from major record companies, so the band pressed a limited run of 3,000, hand-stamped their logo on the cardboard sleeve and signed them all. After unqualified endorsement from BBC Radio 1 presenter Simon Bates and others, media interest resulted in a recording contract with Arista Records, who re-released the album under the same title. After that they released Ready, Itchy Feet and Brand Loyalty albums and regularly toured through Europe.

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They briefly disbanded after recording a live album Bye Bye Blues (1983), but reformed three years later. In 1995, they unveiled their version of the ‘Unplugged’ craze, but rather than a MTV event, Wire Less was recorded at the Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. In the new millennium they recorded albums such as Stepping Out (2002) and Thank You Brother Ray (2004), which paid tribute to Ray Charles. Now in their thirty-ninth year as a band, they still perform across Europe with the same line-up. (wikipedia)

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And here´s their 9th album:

Recorded in 1993, this was the Blues Band paying respects to the greats they idolised. Line-up – then, as it is today – is Paul Jones (lead vocals & harmonica), Dave Kelly (lead vocals & slide guitar), Tom McGuinness (guitars), Gary Fletcher (bass) and Rob Townsend (drums). The content is classic Blues and R&B, from artists ranging from Little Walter and Jimmy Reed through to Willie Dixon, and Bo Diddley to Ma Rainey. Highlights include: ‘I Go Crazy’ – the James Brown classic and the first song the Blues Band ever performed in public, ‘You Shook Me’ – later popularised by Led Zeppelin, Paul Jones solo reworking of the jazz standard ‘Work Song’ and ‘Fine Brown Frame’, with Jools Holland guesting. Long hard to obtain, due to a one-off deal with the original now defunct label.  (press release)

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It’s not often that I’ll begin a review by listing the band’s personnel, but sometimes that aspect says it all, and regarding The Blues Band, it certainly does … Tom McGuinness floating vocals, guitar, background vocals; Lou Stonebridge on accordion, organ; Mike Paice on saxophone; Jools Holland [yes, that Jools Holland] with Peter Filleul on piano and organ; Jona Lewie, Bob Hall flipping those piano keys; Gary Fletcher on bass guitar, and background vocals; Rob Townsend on drums, and percussions; Liz Kitchen on percussion; along with Fiona Hendley, Dyan Birch, Frank Collins, Paddy McHugh laying out background vocals.

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The songs are crisp and clear, sparkling, and laid out in a rockin’ blues fashion, the kind of band you might find yourself swaying to on a hot summer night on the boardwalk, and thinking how cool this unknown house band is. Their cover of “C.C. Rider” has a swaggering stroll to it, while “Rolling & Tumbling” actually does, with “That Same Thing” conveying an essence of early Dr. John, and I haven’t even gotten to the sexy, spine shimmering, “Swamp Medley,” reminding me of “Walkin’ To New Orleans,” and plastering my face with a mile wide smile at every 50’s line dance laden turn. The Blues Band is nothing short of fine, fine, fine, mixing genres, styles, and unexpected instrumentation to brighten any night, and cooling your body temperature, like flipping the pillow. But this ain’t no dream, this is the real deal … and one that’s not to be missed. (streetmouse)

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Personnel:
Gary Fletcher (bass, vocals)
Paul Jones (vocals, harmonica)
Dave Kelly (guitar, slide guitar, vocals)
Tom McGuinness (guitar, vocals)
Rob Townsend (drums)
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Peter Filleul (piano on 06. + 13.)
Bob Hall (piano on 04., 08., 10. + 14.)
Jools Holland (keyboards on 01.+ 11,)
Liz Kitchen (percussion on 09. + 14.)
Jona Lewie (piano on 03. + 05.)
Mike Paice (saxophone on 03. + 05.)
Lou Stonebridge (organ, accordion on 02., 08, + 12,)
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background vocals:
Fiona Hendley – Gary Myakicheff – Kokomo Singers – Lan Myakicheff

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Tracklist:
01. Let The Good Times Roll (Moore/Theard) 3.14
02. I’ll Go Crazy (Brown) 2.35
03. Temperature/Fever (Medley) (Cooley/Cohen/Davenport/Jacobs) 5.02
04. Rolling And Tumbling (Traditional) 3.11
05. C.C. Rider (Traditional) 3.47
06. How Can A Poor Men Stand Such Times And Live? (Reed) 6.29
07. Work Song (Adderley/Brown Jr.) 3.18
08. Swamp Medley5.32
08.1. Honest I Do (Abner Jr./Reed)
08.2.  Send Me Some Lovin’ (Marascalco/Price)
08.3. Rainin’ In My Heart (Moore/West)
09. That Same Thing (Dixon) 4.31
10. I Ain’t Got You (Carter) 2.43
11. Fine Brown Frame (Cartiero/Williams) 4.08
12. I Can Tell (McDaniel/Smith) 5.12
13. You Shook Me (Lenoir/Dixon) 5.17
14. Wang Dang Doodle (Dixon) 4.56
15. Sweet Home Chicago (Johnson) 4.55

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The official website:
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Michael Nyman – The Piano (OST) (1993)

FrontCover1The Piano is a 1993 period drama film written and directed by Jane Campion. Starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin in her first major acting role, the film focuses on a mute Scottish woman who travels to a remote part of New Zealand with her young daughter after her arranged marriage to a frontiersman.

A co-production between New Zealand, Australia and France, The Piano was a critical and commercial success, grossing US$140.2 million worldwide against its US$7 million budget. Hunter and Paquin both received high praise for their performances. In 1993, the film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, making Jane Campion the first female director to ever receive this award. It won three Academy Awards out of eight total nominations in March 1994: Best Actress for Hunter, Best Supporting Actress for Paquin, and Best Original Screenplay for Campion. Paquin was 11 years old at the time and remains the second-youngest actor to win an Oscar in a competitive category.

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An electively mute Scotswoman named Ada McGrath is sold by her father into marriage to a New Zealand frontiersman named Alisdair Stewart, bringing her young daughter Flora with her. Ada has not spoken a word since she was six and no one, including herself, knows why. She expresses herself through her piano playing and through sign language, for which her daughter, in parent-child role reversal, has served as her interpreter. Flora is the product of a relationship with a piano teacher whom Ada believed she had seduced through mental telepathy, but who “became frightened and stopped listening” and thus left her.

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Ada, Flora, and their belongings, including a hand crafted piano, are deposited on a New Zealand beach by a ship’s crew. The following day, Alisdair arrives with a Māori crew and his friend, George Baines, a fellow forester and retired sailor who has adopted many of the Māori customs, including tattooing his face. Alisdair tells Ada there is no room in his small house for the piano and abandons her piano on the beach. Ada, in turn, is cold to him and is determined to be reunited with her piano. Unable to communicate with Alisdair, Ada and Flora visit Baines with a note asking to be taken to the piano. He explains he cannot read. Baines suggests to Alisdair to trade the instrument to him for some land. Alisdair consents, and agrees to his further request to receive lessons from Ada, oblivious to Baines’s attraction to her. Ada is enraged when she learns Alisdair has traded away her precious piano without consulting her.

During one visit, Baines proposes Ada can earn her piano back at a rate of one piano key per “lesson”, provided he can observe her and do “things he likes” while she plays. She agrees, but negotiates for a number of lessons equal to the number of black keys only. While Ada and her husband Alisdair have had no sexual, or even mildly affectionate interaction, the lessons with Baines become a slow seduction for her affection. Baines requests gradually increased intimacy in exchange for greater numbers of keys. Ada reluctantly accepts but does not give herself to him the way he desires. Realizing she only does what she has to in order to regain the piano, and she has no romantic feelings for him, Baines gives up and simply returns the piano to Ada, saying their arrangement “is making you a whore, and me wretched”, and what he really wants is for her to actually care for him.

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Despite Ada’s having her piano back, she ultimately finds herself missing Baines watching her as she plays. She returns to him one afternoon, when they submit to their desire for one another. Alisdair, having become suspicious of their relationship, hears them having sex as he walks by Baines’s house and then watches them through a crack in the wall. Outraged, he follows her the next day and confronts her in the forest, where he attempts to force himself on her, despite her intense resistance. He eventually exacts a promise from Ada she will not see Baines.

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Soon afterwards, Ada sends her daughter with a package for Baines, containing a single piano key with an inscribed love declaration reading “Dear George you have my heart Ada McGrath”. Flora does not want to deliver the package and brings the piano key instead to Alisdair. After reading the love note burnt onto the piano key, Alisdair furiously returns home with an axe and cuts off Ada’s index finger to deprive her of the ability to play the piano. He then sends Flora who witnessed this to Baines with the severed finger wrapped in cloth, with the message that if Baines ever attempts to see Ada again, he will chop off more fingers. Later that night, while touching Ada in her sleep, Alisdair hears what he believes to be Ada’s voice inside his head, asking him to let Baines take her away.

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Deeply shaken, he goes to Baines’s house and asks if she has ever spoken words to him. Baines assures him she has not. Ultimately, it is assumed he decides to send Ada and Flora away with Baines and dissolve their marriage once she has recovered from her injuries. They depart from the same beach on which she first landed in New Zealand. While being rowed to the ship with her baggage and Ada’s piano tied onto a Māori longboat, Ada asks Baines to throw the piano overboard. As it sinks, she deliberately tangles her foot in the rope trailing after it. She is pulled overboard but, deep under water, changes her mind and kicks free and is pulled to safety.

In an epilogue, Ada describes her new life with Baines and Flora in Nelson, New Zealand, where she has started to give piano lessons in their new home, and her severed finger has been replaced with a metal finger made by Baines. Additionally, Ada has started to take speech lessons in order to learn how to speak again. (wikipedia)

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And here´s the soundtrack:

The Piano is the original soundtrack, on the Virgin Records label, of the 1993 Academy Award-winning film The Piano. The original score was composed by Michael Nyman and is his twentieth album release. Despite being called a “soundtrack”, this is a partial score re-recording, as Nyman himself also performs the piano on the album (whereas the film version is performed by lead actress Holly Hunter). The music is performed by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nyman with Michael Nyman Band members John Harle, David Roach and Andrew Findon performing the prominent saxophone work.

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The album was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score (but lost to the score of Heaven & Earth) and the BAFTA Award for Best Score (lost to the score of Schindler’s List).

The album design and illustration are by Dave McKean.

The main theme is based on a traditional Scottish melody titled “Gloomy Winter’s Noo Awa”. (wikipedia)

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This soundtrack is what really helped me notice the music of Michael Nyman and it is still one of my favourite works by the composer. Although pieces such as The Heart Asks Pleasure First are in many ways over-played in the media, I think the score is masterfully effective both alongside the film and as stand-alone “classical” music. Minimalist and often simplistic in many ways, there is a lot of vulnerable and raw emotion expressed in this music and a highly original, signature sound and orchestration that keeps this score popular as film music and as lighter modern / contemporary classical music. My favourite tracks would have to be Lost and Found and Big My Secret – this one in particular I often play myself on piano. (Sean)

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Personnel:
Members of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michael Nyman
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Andrew Findon (saxophone, flute)
John Harle (saxophone)
Michael Nyman (piano)
David Roach (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. To The Edge Of The Earth 4.06
02. Big My Secret 2.52
03. A Wild And Distant Shore 5.52
04. The Heart Asks Pleasure First 1.36
05. Here To There 1.02
06. The Promise 4.16
07. A Bed Of Ferns 0.48
08. The Fling 1.29
09. The Scent Of Love 4.18
10. Deep Into The Forest 3.01
11. The Mood That Passes Through You 1.14
12. Lost And Found 2.27
13. The Embrace 2.37
14. Little Impulse 2.13
15. The Sacrifice 2.50
16. I Clipped Your Wing 4.36
17. The Wounded 2.30
18. All Imperfect Things 4.04
19. Dreams Of A Journey 5.30

Music composed by Michael Nyman

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Michael Laurence Nyman, CBE (born 23 March 1944) is an English composer of minimalist music, pianist, librettist and musicologist, known for numerous film scores (many written during his lengthy collaboration with the filmmaker Peter Greenaway), and his multi-platinum soundtrack album to Jane Campion’s The Piano.

Michael Nyman

He has written a number of operas, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat; Letters, Riddles and Writs; Noises, Sounds & Sweet Airs; Facing Goya; Man and Boy: Dada; Love Counts; and Sparkie: Cage and Beyond. He has written six concerti, five string quartets, and many other chamber works, many for his Michael Nyman Band. He is also a performing pianist. Nyman prefers to write opera over other forms of music. (wikipedia)

Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet – The Juliet Letters (1993)

FrontCover1Declan Patrick McManus, OBE (born 25 August 1954), known professionally as Elvis Costello, is an English singer-songwriter. He has won multiple awards in his career, including Grammy Awards in 1999 and 2020, and has twice been nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male Artist. In 2003, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Costello number 80 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Costello began his career as part of London’s pub rock scene in the early 1970s and later became associated with the first wave of the British punk and new wave movement that emerged in the mid-to-late 1970s. His critically acclaimed debut album My Aim Is True was released in 1977. Shortly after recording it, he formed the Attractions as his backing band. His second album This Year’s Model was released in 1978, and was ranked number 11 by Rolling Stone on its list of the best albums from 1967 to 1987. His third album Armed Forces was released in 1979, and features his highest-charting single, “Oliver’s Army” (number 2 in the UK). His first three albums all appeared on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

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Costello and the Attractions toured and recorded together for the better part of a decade, though differences between them caused a split by 1986. Much of Costello’s work since has been as a solo artist, though reunions with members of the Attractions have been credited to the group over the years. Costello’s lyrics employ a wide vocabulary and frequent wordplay. His music has drawn on many diverse genres; one critic described him as a “pop encyclopaedia”, able to “reinvent the past in his own image”. Since 2002, his touring band (featuring a rotating cast of musicians) has been known as The Imposters.

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Costello has co-written several original songs for films, including “God Give Me Strength” from Grace of My Heart (1996, with Burt Bacharach) and “The Scarlet Tide” from Cold Mountain (2003, with T-Bone Burnett). For the latter, Elvis was nominated (along with Burnett) for the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.

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The Juliet Letters is a studio album by the British rock singer and songwriter Elvis Costello.[5][6] It was released on compact disc as Warner Brothers 45180. The instrumental backing is provided by the Brodsky Quartet. Costello described the album as “a song sequence for string quartet and voice and it has a title. It’s a little bit different. It’s not a rock opera. It’s a new thing.” It peaked at No. 18 on the UK Albums Chart, and at No. 125 on the Billboard 200.

Costello first encountered the Brodsky Quartet in 1989, a performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall of the entire cycle of string quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich. They met for the first time in November 1991, to begin work on the concept and execution of this album project. Costello viewed this album as neither his first stab at classical music, nor the Brodsky’s first attempt at rock and roll.

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With a concept of imaginary letters being sent to an imaginary recipient, Juliet Capulet, all five musicians contributed to the writing of the lyrics as well as the music. No overdubs were made, the album recorded in its entirety live in the studio. One single was actually released from the album, the track “Jacksons, Monk, and Rowe,” although it did not chart in either the United States or the UK.

The album was released initially on compact disc in 1993. As part of the Rhino Records reissue campaign for Costello’s back catalogue from Demon/Columbia and Warners, it was re-released in 2006 with 18 additional tracks on a bonus disc. The bonus disc included additional musicians to Costello and the Brodsky Quartet, with some tracks recorded live at the 1995 Meltdown Festival. This reissue is out of print; the album was reissued again by Universal Music Group after its acquisition of Costello’s complete catalogue in 2006.
Recordings and performances by other artists

Single

Several artists have either recorded or mounted productions of the song cycle. It was recorded by Canadian singer Kerry-Anne Kutz and the Abysse String Quartet in February 2006. In September 2006, husband-and-wife duo Michelle and David Murray released a new version arranged for voice and piano by David Murray. In 2008, Jake Endres and the Theatrical Musical Company produced the first fully staged theatrical performance of The Juliet Letters, complete with two additional original songs. The production opened in September 2008 in Minneapolis at the Southern Theater. In 2009, a Polish singer-actress Katarzyna Groniec translated the whole Juliet Letters material into Polish, recorded and released it as Listy Julii with a band of trombone, saxophone, clarinet, French horn, tuba, flute, keyboards, bass guitar, and drums. In 2016, The Sacconi Quartet and Jon Boden (former lead singer of the folk group Bellowhead) performed The Juliet Letters in St Martin’s Church, Colchester, as part of the Roman River Festival. In 2016 the Norwegian singer Charlott-Renee Clasén and Østfold string quartet also performed the concert piece. Voice department faculty of the Berklee College of Music performed the music with a student string quartet in a recital on 18 April 2019.(wikipedia)

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Looking back on it, it’s remarkable that Warner didn’t sue Elvis Costello for making deliberately noncommercial, non-representative records, the way Geffen did with Neil Young in the ’80s. After all, it’s not just that he made a record as anti-pop as Mighty Like a Rose, it’s that he followed it with a full-fledged classical album, The Juliet Letters — “a song sequence for string quartet and voice,” recorded with the Brodsky Quartet. It’s inspired by a Verona professor who responded to letters addressed to Juliet, of Romeo and Juliet fame, too. Given this history, it’s little wonder that the record didn’t storm the charts, but it is remarkable that Warner, even with their reputation for being an artist’s label, decided to release it, since this just doesn’t fit anywhere — not within pop (especially in the grunge-saturated 1993) and not within classical, either. Of course, that’s precisely what’s interesting about the record, and if interesting didn’t signify any rewards with Mighty, it does here.

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This is a distinctive, unusual affair that, at its best, effectively marries chamber music with Beatlesque art pop. And there are a number of moments that work remarkably well on the record, such as “I Almost Had a Weakness” and “Jacksons, Monk and Rowe.” True, these are the songs closest to straight-ahead Costello songs, yet they’re still nice, small gems, and even if the rest of the record can be a little arch and awkward, it’s not hard to admire what Costello and the Brodskys set out to do. And that’s the problem with the record — it’s easy to intellectualize, even appreciate, what it intends to be, but it’s never compelling enough to return to. More experiment than effective, then. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Elvis Costello (vocals)
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The Brodsky Quartet
Ian Belton (violin)
Paul Cassidy (viola)
Jaqueline Thomas (cello)
Michael Thomas (violin)

Booklet05ATracklist:
01. Deliver Us (MacManus) 0.49
02. For Other Eyes (MacManus/Cassidy/J.Thomas) 2.55
03. Swine (MacManus/Cassidy) 2.09
04. Expert Rites (MacManus) 2.23
05. Dead Letter (Cassidy) 2.18
06. I Almost Had A Weakness (MacManus/M.Thomas) 3.53
07. Why? (MacManus/Belton) 1.26
08. Who Do You Think You Are? (MacManus/Ma. Thomas/Mi. Thomas) 3.29
09. Taking My Life In Your Hands (MacManus/J.Thomas/Ma. Thomas/Cassidy) 3.20
10. This Offer Is Unrepeatable (MacManus/Cassidy/Belton/J. Thomas/Mi. Thomas) 3.12
11. Dear Sweet Filthy World (MacManus/Belton/Ma. Thomas) 4.17
12. The Letter Home (MacManus/Belton/Cassidy) 3.11
13. Jacksons, Monk And Rowe (MacManus/J. Thomas/Mi. Thomas) 3.43
14. This Sad Burlesque (MacManus/Cassidy) 2.47
15. Romeo’s Seance (MacManus/Ma. Thomas/Mi. Thomas) 3.33
16. I Thought I’d Write To Juliet (MacManus) 4.08
17. Last Post (Mi. Thomas/Traditional) 2.24
18. The First To Leave (MacManus) 4.59
19. Damnation’s Cellar (MacManus) 3.25
20. The Birds Will Still Be Singing (MacManus) 4.28

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The official website:
Website

Barbara Thompson & Paraphernalia – Everlasting Flame (1993)

FrontCover1One of the finest saxophone player ever… Barbara Thompson:

Barbara Gracey Thompson MBE (born 27 July 1944) is an English jazz saxophonist. She studied saxophone and classical composition at the Royal College of Music, but the music of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane made her shift her interests to jazz and saxophone. She was married to drummer Jon Hiseman of Colosseum from 1967 until his death in 2018.

Around 1970, Thompson was part of Neil Ardley’s New Jazz Orchestra and appeared on albums by Colosseum. Beginning in 1975, she was involved in the foundation of three bands:

United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, a ‘band of bandleaders’ …
Barbara Thompson’s Jubiaba and:
Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia, her most recent band

Barbara_Thompson01he was awarded the MBE in 1996 for services to music. Due to Parkinson’s disease, which was diagnosed in 1997, she retired as an active saxophonist in 2001 with a farewell tour. After a period of working as a composer exclusively, she returned to the stage in 2003.

Thompson has worked closely with Andrew Lloyd Webber on musicals such as Cats and Starlight Express, his Requiem, and Lloyd Webber’s 1978 classical-fusion album Variations. She has written several classical compositions, music for film and television, a musical of her own and songs for the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia and her big band Moving Parts.

She played the incidental music in the ITV police series A Touch of Frost starring David Jason. She also played flute on Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.

From 1967, until he died in June 2018, Thompson was married to the Colosseum drummer Jon Hiseman. The couple’s son Marcus was born in 1972, and their daughter Anna (now known as singer/songwriter Ana Gracey) in 1975. (wikipedia)

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And here´s another brilliant album … criminally underrated …

”This recording produces breathtaking impressions in the listener.” (Extra Dry, 06/94)
What an album!
Barbara Thompson herself feels this is one of her best albums and I tend to agree. Featuring her daughter’s vocals, it is a rich aural experience that draws on Egyptian rhythm and harmony. Listeners won’t regret buying this wonderful album. (Agadoo)

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Personnel:
Anna Gracey Hiseman (vocals)
Jon Hiseman (drums)
Peter Lemer (keyboards)
Malcolm MacFarlane (guitar)
Hossam Ramzy (percussion)
Barbara Thompson (saxophone, flute)
Paul Westwood (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Everlasting Flame (Thompson) 5.15
02. In The Eye Of A Storm (Thompson) 5.06
03. Emerald Dusky Maiden (Thompson) 4.59
04. Unity Hymn (Thompson) 3.54
05. So Near, So Far (Hiseman/Thompson) 3.20
06. Tatami (Lemer) 4.56
07. Ode To Sappho (Thompson) 9.27 (*)
08. The Night Before Culloden (MacFarlane) 5.10
09. Ancient Voices (Thompson/Westwood) 6.33
10. The Fanaid Grove (Thompson) 7.15

(?) This composition based probably on an song, written by Marika Papagika called “Ta Pedia Tis Gitonias Sou”, written in 1925

 

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More from Barbara Thompson:
More

The Connells – Ring (1994)

FrontCover1The Connells are an American band from Raleigh, North Carolina. They play a guitar-oriented, melodic, jangle pop style of rock music with introspective lyrics that reflect the American South. Though mostly dormant, the band continues to play to this day. The band is best known for their song “’74–’75”, which was successful across Europe, topping the charts in Sweden and Norway and becoming a UK Top 20 hit in 1995.

Ring is the fifth studio album by the American alternative rock band The Connells, released in 1993.

The album (and band)’s biggest hit was the single “’74–’75,” which also appeared on the soundtrack of the 1995 film Heavy. In the UK, the album reached #36 on the UK Albums Chart while “’74-’75” peaked at #14 on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, the album reached #199 on the Billboard 200 with the single “Slackjawed” reaching #9 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.

“The record contains some brilliant pieces of pop songcraft (‘Carry My Picture,’ ‘Eyes on the Ground’) and some bittersweet lyrical ruminations, but slower numbers like ‘’74-’75’ are so sweet they border on cloying.” (Trouser Press)

Singles

After scoring a college radio hit with “Stone Cold Yesterday” from 1990’s One Simple Word, the Connells followed up with their strongest effort to date, the radio-ready Ring. While muddy production and underdeveloped songs occasionally plagued their earlier releases, Ring is an album aimed squarely at the mainstream, and is a clear attempt to pick up on fans of R.E.M., alt-country like Uncle Tupelo, and rootsy power pop like Marshall Crenshaw. The album’s first single, a lilting and seemingly unassuming acoustic ballad entitled “’74-’75” became an unexpected smash hit in Europe, topping the pop charts in many countries across the continent. The song was equally indebted to acoustic-based roots rock as it was to Celtic music (as witnessed in the ornate backing vocals) and was one of the band’s most successful concoctions.

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Subsequent singles, such as the poppy “Slackjawed” and the nostalgic “New Boy” (which sounds like it was written as musical accompaniment to a James Thurber story) each managed to garner some alternative radio attention as well. The album tracks were equally as strong, especially the tense “Carry My Picture,” a stark portrait of a vindictive relationship. Ring established the Connells as the forerunners in the group of jangle pop bands that had previously lived largely in the shadow of R.E.M. and helped the band become a moderate commercial success. While time has not been kind to the band or this album, the Connells clearly held some influence. In 2000, Fran Healy of the British guitar pop band Travis admitted that his band’s 1999 hit “Writing to Reach You” was written while listening to “’74-’75” on the radio, and was, in effect, a bit of a rip-off. The songs sound unmistakably similar, and it’s enough proof that the Connells deserve much more credit for their contributions to guitar-based pop than they have previously been given. (by Jason Damas)

In other words: A forgotten masterpiece !

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Personnel:
David Connell (bass)
Mike Connell (guitar, vocals on 07. + 11., background vocals)
George Huntley (guitar, mandolin, vocals on 04., background vocals)
Doug MacMillan (vocals, guitar)
Steve Potak (keyboards)
Peele Wimberley (drums, percussion)
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Tim Harper (keyboards, background vocals)
Caro Giordano (cello)

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Tracklist:
01. Slackjawed (M.Connell) 4.00
02. Carry My Picture (M.Connell) 3.58
03. ’74–’75 (M.Connell) 4.39
04. Doin’ You (Huntley) 3.33
05. Find Out (MacMillan) 3.31
06. Eyes On The Ground (MacMillan) 3.03
07. Spiral (M.Connell) 3.07
08. Hey You (D.Connell/M.Connell/MacMillan) 3.23
09. New Boy (M.Connell) 4.39
10. Disappointed (M.Connell) 5.04
11. Burden (M.Connell) 4.00
12. Any Day Now (MacMillan) 2.39
13. Running Mary (M.Connell) 4.36
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European bonus tracks:
14. Logan Street (M.Connell) 3.39
15. Wonder Why (M.Connell) 3.14
16. Living In The Past (Anderson) 2.43

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Pierre Boulez & The Cleveland Orchestra Nocturnes + La Mer (Claude Debussy) (1995)

FrontCover1(Achille) Claude Debussy ( 22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Born to a family of modest means and little cultural involvement, Debussy showed enough musical talent to be admitted at the age of ten to France’s leading music college, the Conservatoire de Paris. He originally studied the piano, but found his vocation in innovative composition, despite the disapproval of the Conservatoire’s conservative professors. He took many years to develop his mature style, and was nearly 40 when he achieved international fame in 1902 with the only opera he completed, Pelléas et Mélisande.

Debussy’s orchestral works include Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (1894), Nocturnes (1897–1899) and Images (1905–1912). His music was to a considerable extent a reaction against Wagner and the German musical tradition. He regarded the classical symphony as obsolete and sought an alternative in his “symphonic sketches”, La mer (1903–1905). His piano works include two books of Préludes and two of Études. Throughout his career he wrote mélodies based on a wide variety of poetry, including his own. He was greatly influenced by the Symbolist poetic movement of the later 19th century. A small number of works, including the early La Damoiselle élue and the late Le Martyre de saint Sébastien have important parts for chorus. In his final years, he focused on chamber music, completing three of six planned sonatas for different combinations of instruments.

With early influences including Russian and far-eastern music, Debussy developed his own style of harmony and orchestral colouring, derided – and unsuccessfully resisted – by much of the musical establishment of the day. His works have strongly influenced a wide range of composers including Béla Bartók, Olivier Messiaen, George Benjamin, and the jazz pianist and composer Bill Evans. Debussy died from cancer at his home in Paris at the age of 55 after a composing career of a little more than 30 years.

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Pierre Louis Joseph Boulez CBE (French: [pjɛʁ lwi ʒozεf bulɛz]; 26 March 1925 – 5 January 2016) was a French composer, conductor, writer and founder of several musical institutions. He was one of the dominant figures of the post-war classical music world.

Born in Montbrison in the Loire department of France, the son of an engineer, Boulez studied at the Conservatoire de Paris with Olivier Messiaen, and privately with Andrée Vaurabourg and René Leibowitz. He began his professional career in the late 1940s as music director of the Renaud-Barrault theatre company in Paris. As a young composer in the 1950s he quickly became a leading figure in avant-garde music, playing an important role in the development of integral serialism and controlled chance music. From the 1970s onwards he pioneered the electronic transformation of instrumental music in real time. His tendency to revise earlier compositions meant that his body of completed works was relatively small, but it included pieces regarded by many as landmarks of twentieth-century music, such as Le Marteau sans maître, Pli selon pli and Répons. His uncompromising commitment to modernism and the trenchant, polemical tone in which he expressed his views on music led some to criticise him as a dogmatist.

In parallel with his activities as a composer Boulez became one of the most prominent conductors of his generation. In a career lasting more than sixty years he held the positions of chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Ensemble intercontemporain and principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra. He made frequent guest appearances with many of the world’s other great orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra. He was particularly known for his performances of the music of the first half of the twentieth century—including Debussy and Ravel, Stravinsky and Bartók, and the Second Viennese School—as well as that of his contemporaries, such as Ligeti, Berio and Carter. His work in the opera house included the Jahrhundertring—the production of Wagner’s Ring cycle for the centenary of the Bayreuth Festival—and the world premiere of the three-act version of Alban Berg’s Lulu. His recorded legacy is extensive.

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He founded a number of musical institutions in Paris, including the Domaine musical, the Institut de recherche et coordination acoustique/musique (IRCAM), the Ensemble intercontemporain and the Cité de la Musique, as well as the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland. (wikipedia)

Pierre Boulez made his early reputation as a Debussy conductor, and with good reason. Debussy’s reputation as a musical “impressionist” led most people to think of him as a sort of musical Claude Monet–all blurry outlines and fuzzy images–but Boulez changed this perception, bringing an analytical clarity and razor-sharp definition to the composer’s musical mosaics. What he has achieved in this second series of Debussy recordings is an additional naturalness and spontaneity of expression. The Cleveland Orchestra is the ideal vehicle for this sort of interpretation, being perhaps the most technically precise band in the world. The result is just about perfect. (by David Hurwitz)

Recorded at the Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, March 1991 (4) / March 1993

BackCover1Personnel:
The Cleveland Orchestra+ Chorus conducted by Pierre Boulez

The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
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Franklin Cohen (clarinet on 04.)

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Tracklist:

Nocturnes:
01. Nuages 6.15
02. Fêtes 6.31
03. Sirènes 9.47

04. Première Rhapsodie (Pour Orchestre Avec Clarinette Principale) 8.42
05. Jeux (Poème Dansé) 16.06
La Mer (Trois Esquisses Symphoniques):
06. De L’Aube À Midi Sur La Mer 8.47
07. Jeux De Vagues 7.09
08. Dialogue Du Vent Et De La Mer 7.41

Music composed by Claude Debussy

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The Cleveland Orchestra

Joshua Kadison – Painted Desert Serenade (1993)

FrontCover1Joshua Kadison (born February 8, 1963 in Los Angeles, California) is an American singer-songwriter, pianist, and writer. He is perhaps best known for the Top 40 hits “Jessie” and “Beautiful in My Eyes” from his debut album Painted Desert Serenade. He is the son of actress Gloria Castillo, who was the inspiration behind his song “Mama’s Arms.”

According to an early press release by EMI, “His maverick ways paid off in 1993 when EMI released his self-penned debut Painted Desert Serenade, a collection of introspective story songs including the break-through single “Jessie” and “When A Woman Cries,” already covered by legends Joe Cocker and Smokey Robinson. “I was so used to being outside of whatever was going on that I didn’t even think I’d get a record deal, much less have my songs played on the radio.” This, from the young man who received the BMI Award for one of the most played songs of 1994. His international hit “Beautiful in My Eyes” is often played at weddings and peaked at #19 in the U.S. Billboard charts. Painted Desert Serenade went platinum in the US and Germany, and went multi-platinum in Australia and New Zealand. According to The Guinness book of British Hit Singles both “Jessie” and “Beautiful In My Eyes” both reached the UK Top 40 with “Jessie” spending 15 weeks in the UK Top 75 with the 2 releases of the song combined and the album reached number 45. “Jessie” is still often heard on UK radio, his musical style and voice are similar to Elton John.

JoshuaKadison01His second album, Delilah Blue, was less commercially successful. His collection of songs were closer to sonic novels than the ballads featured in his first album; he used John Steinbeck’s book The Pearl as inspiration for a song of the same name. The single “Take it on Faith” failed to reach the Billboard Top 10, and shortly after, EMI voided its contract with Kadison. The title track “Delilah Blue” was released as a single in Australia.

In 1998, he published his book 17 Ways To Eat A Mango: A Discovered Journal Of Life On An Island Of Miracles and the 5-track-album Saturday Night In Storyville on his own label Storyville Records, selling it predominantly from his website. It was well received in Germany, where he continues to have a huge following. In 1999 he released another album via his website called “Troubador In A Timequake,” which was the first CD to include “My Father’s Son.” He is quoted to have said that it was a song written about his father, Ellis Kadison, who had recently died.

Shortly after, he signed a new deal with EMI Germany and his album Vanishing America was released. The album, released in May 2001, dealt with his disillusionment with the lost values of America. The album was a collection of songs that told stories about people not realizing their own beauty and full potential. Ironically, the album was never distributed in the United States. The album also included two selections previously used on his late 1990s albums, “My Father’s Son” and “Cherry Bowl Drive-In” and a solo version of “Dragonfly Queen,” re-titled “Begging For Grace.”

In 2005, Kadison relaunched his career on his self-run website “Radio Humanity.” He later bought back his previous website address and re-launched it. The Venice Beach Sessions was released as a download-only album in two parts, including a selection titled “Over The Sad Songs;” this was thought to be inspired by his recently dissolved relationship. Kadison has long been openly bisexual, which he once made mention of on his website’s forum. The discussion which ensued caused him to shut down the site for some time before it was eventually relaunched. His sexuality does not seem to have affected his popularity and sales one way or the other, and certainly has not diminished either.

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In 2006, EMI released Essential a collection which included tracks from all three full-length studio albums and three additional selections that had formerly been B-sides.

In 2007 Joshua continued to update his website with regular letters and toured Germany in the spring.

In 2008 Joshua released the download-only album Return Of The Dragonfly and toured Germany again. During the tour he announced that he would no longer be performing his older songs and would dedicate his time to studying the bansuri, a simple seven-hole bamboo flute.

Wherever possible at his concerts, he allows audience members to sit on the stage; this is evidenced by various videos on YouTube. He also has a “requests” and “Q & A” sessions at the end.

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Kadison’s career has been quiet since 2012, with him performing occasionally and following other interests and pursuits.

Painted Desert Serenade is the debut studio album by American pianist/singer-songwriter Joshua Kadison, released in 1993 on SBK (a subsidiary of Capitol Records). It features two singles, both of which reached the top 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100: “Jessie” peaked at number 26, while “Beautiful in My Eyes” reached number 19 in 1994. (by wikipedia)

Singles

Pianist Joshua Kadison’s debut is chock full of odes to finding romance, longing for romance and losing romance. Propelled mostly by the enormously popular adult contemporary hit Jessie, about the searching title heroine and the hopeful, needing narrator who gets sucked into her longing, he paints vivid portrayals of troubled and hopeful dreamers. With lyrics like “Jessie, paint your pictures/’bout how it’s gonna be/by now I should know better/your dreams are never free,” Kadison taps into the wanderer in all of us. His strength is much like that of the best country music songwriters: Each track brings to life and tells a story about unique characters, whether it’s Lady Jane in the title song, Rachel in Picture Postcards from L.A. or Jessie making a recurrent visit in Georgia Rain. With Kadison being an unabashed romantic, none of these songs rock out or even come close to being edgy, but that works to their advantage because he also steers far from the middle of the road with his strong songwriting skills, yearning lyrics, pretty melodies and simple production. The best cut is Painted Desert Serenade, a swooningly romantic song about a senior citizen trying to convince a fellow senior that it’s not too late to find love. His follow-up, 1995’s Delilah Blue, had no hit singles and disappeared soon off the charts. (by Bryan Buss)

BackCover1Personnel:
Rod Argent (keyboards, background vocals)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar; mandolin)
Mark Cresswell (guitar)
Martin Ditcham (percussion)
Denny Fongheiser (drums)
John Giblin (bass)
Peter van Hooke (piano, drums, percussion)
Paul Jones (harmonica)
Joshua Kadison (vocals, piano)
Chris Laurence (bass)
Phil Parlapiano (accordion)
John Pierce (bass)
Tim Pierce (guitar)
Tim Renwick (guitar)
Frank Ricotti (percussion)
Ian Thomas (drums)
Jeffrey “CJ” Vanston (organ)
Neal Wilkinson (drums)
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background vocals:
Sherwood Ball – Adele Bertei – Carmen Carter – Lance Ellington – Kathy Hazzard – Carol Kenyon – David Lasley – Valerie Mayo – Arnold McCuller – Joseph Powell – Ian Shaw – Helen Terry – Ruby Turner – Carmen Twillie – Fred White – Rosemary Butler – Gene Miller – Tessa Niles
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violin:
Mark Berrow – Ben Cruft – Roger Garland – Wilfred Gibson – Roy Gillard – Tim Good  Rita Manning – Peter Oxer – Bill Penham – Barry Wilde – David Woodcock – Gavyn Wright
viola:
Stephen Tees – Robert Smissen, – George Robertson – Andrew Parker – Susie Hansen
celli:
Paul Kegg – Ben Kennard – Helen Liebmann – Roger Smith
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oboe:
Frank Morgan – Richard Morgan

Strings arranged by Rod Argent; conducted by Gavyn Wright

Booklet02ATracklist:
01. Jessie 5.19
02. Painted Desert Serenade 2.57
03. Beau’s All Night Radio Love Line 4.26
04. Invisible Man 4.58
05. Mama’s Arms 3.00
06. Beautiful In My Eyes 4.09
07. Picture Postcards From LA 4.34
08. When A Woman Cries 3.31
09. Georgia Rain 4.03

All songs written by Joshua Kadison

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Philip Catherine Trio – Moods Vol. 1 (1993)

FrontCover1An immensely gifted Belgian guitarist, Philip Catherine is a highly regarded performer known for his harmonically nuanced, deeply lyrical playing and crisply rounded fretboard touch. Born in London in 1942 to an English mother and Belgian father, Catherine moved to Brussels with his family at a young age. As a teenager, he became interested in the guitar, influenced at the time by French singer/songwriter and poet George Brassens. By age 14 he was taking lessons, and learning the basic elements of jazz improvisation when he discovered Django Reinhardt. He quickly absorbed the jazz legend’s distinctive style, and eventually picked up other influences, including Belgian guitarist René Thomas. He also immersed himself in albums by such luminaries as Art Blakey, Clifford Brown, Max Roach, and others. (by Matt Collar)

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The trio of guitarist Philip Catherine, flügelhornist Tom Harrell, and bassist Hein Van DeGeyn mostly performs group originals on this introspective, relaxed, and thoughtful set. Michel Herr’s keyboards add atmosphere to three numbers. The music is subtle post-bop, sometimes quite eerie (such as the closing “A Time for Love”), and generally unpredictable. This set, and the slightly superior Moods, Vol. 2, deserve several listens. (by Scott Yanow)

BackCover1

Personnel:
Philip Catherine (guitar)
Hein van de Geyn (bass)
Tom Harrell (flugelhorn, trumpet)
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Michel Herr (keyboards on 01., 05. + 07.)

TomHarrell

Tracklist:
01. Côté Jardin (Catherine) 12.29
02. The Man I Love (Gershwin) 9.09
03. Moods (Catherine) 2.01
04. December 26th Variation I (Catherine) 7.56
05. Romance (Harrell) 6.35
06. Fridge Blues (de Gey) 7.15
07. Côté Cours (Catherine) 2.45
08. Angel Wings (Catherine) 5.38
09. A Time For Love (Mandel) 3.39

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Hein van de Geyn

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