Toni Braxton – The Heat (2000)

frontcover1The Heat is the third studio album by American recording artist Toni Braxton. Released in the United States on April 25, 2000 by LaFace Records, the album marked Braxton’s departure from her ballads in favor of a more urban sound. Most of the songs (including the nearly instrumental “The Art of Love”) were written and produced by Braxton and her husband Keri Lewis (a former member of Mint Condition), two ballads were penned by Diane Warren, and collaborations featured rappers Dr. Dre and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.

The Heat opened at number two on the Billboard 200 chart selling 194,448 units in its first week. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on October 13, 2000, with sales of over 2.2 million copies within the U.S. Additionally, the album was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 2001 Grammy Awards, while lead single “He Wasn’t Man Enough” won for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and was nominated for Best R&B Song.
After the success of her sophomore studio album, Secrets (1996), which spawned Braxton’s signature song and biggest hit of her career, “Un-Break My Heart”, and sold over 15 million copies worldwide, Braxton filed a suit to be released from her contract with Arista and LaFace records in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing a law that states employers may not enforce labor or service after seven years. After a year of legal issues, Braxton settled her lawsuit with LaFace Records, with plans to release a new album in May 1999.
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In February 1999, Babyface told MTV News that, “We’re getting ready head back in the studio with Toni and we’ve got everything worked out, and we’re really excited about getting back into the studio, getting back to the music.” However, only in January 2000, during an interview with CNN.com, Toni revealed that the album was going to be released in March 2000, while stating, “Some of the producers on the album are, of course Babyface, R. Kelly, David Foster, Keith Crouch and Keri Lewis of Mint Condition, just to name a few,” while also revealing collaborations with Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes from TLC and Dr. Dre.
“The Heat” is built on solid ballads and smoldering, mid-tempo dance numbers, as noted by Allmusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Colin Ross of PopMatters noted that, “By taking a more active role in the writing and production of the set, Toni’s material begins to be constructed around her voice rather than the latest producer’s sound.”
The album’s first single and opening track, “He Wasn’t Man Enough”, was written and produced by Rodney Jerkins. The R&B song, with synth-funk bassline and Jerkins’ taut beats and harp,[8] has Toni warning a female friend not to marry a man the singer knows all too well[9] and that came back begging for forgiveness. On the title track, “The Heat”, co-written by Keri Lewis, was described as “an infectious mid-tempo groove.” Lyrically, the song talks about wanting to “get it on” and enjoying coed skinny-dipping.[10] Third track, “Spanish Guitar” ,was written by Diane Warren (who wrote “Un-Break My Heart”) and was considered a “latin ballad”, inspired by “Un-Break My Heart”. Lyrically, the song has the singer inviting an alluring stranger to play her “through the night” like a “Spanish Guitar.”
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The fourth track “Just Be a Man About It” is a telephone breakup song, with Toni once again questioning the status of a partner’s manhood and Dr. Dre playing the wayward lover breaking the news to her, while fifth track, “Gimme Some”, features Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and was named “an R&B/summer ‘jerky funker’ track”, with Braxton demanding intercourse and oral sex from a man.
“I’m Still Breathing” is another song written by Diane Warren and talks about a woman stung by a painful breakup who summons strength, while “Fairy Tale”, co-written and produced by Babyface, is an “acoustic piece” where the singer implies that being “just friends” may be healthier than a “love affair.” Pillow talk and ecstatic moaning characterize “The Art of Love,” a track that features no discernible lyrics, Braxton’s sighs and moans over undulating rhythms”. On “Speaking in Tongues,” a “sensual affair” with stickerwarm harmonies, spiritual expressions are co-opted and woven amid passionate propositions including, “Talk dirty to me.” The tenth track “Maybe” has rapid-fire lyrics, informed by hip-hop vocal rhythms and lyrically discuss the singer debating —in rapturous detail— whether or not to have drinks and sex again with her boyfriend (“Should I give him some/Will he make me hot/Will he hit the spot I love a lot”, she sings). The eleventh track “You’ve Been Wrong” was considered “plodding”, while the twelfth and final track, “Never Just For a Ring”, finds Braxton questioning her lovers lack of fidelity the song features the embittered choral hook “Why?, when?, where?, how?, who?, what?”, made you go off and do this crazy thing. (by Wikipedia)
Toni Braxton went through a lot in the years separating her star-making Toni Braxton and her 2000 comeback The Heat. Yes, she became a star, but she also went through a painful bankruptcy that delayed her sequel for years. Fortunately, you wouldn’t be able to tell that there was so much behind-the-scenes drama from The Heat — it’s a confident, assured, sexy effort that reaffirms Braxton’s status as one of the finest contemporary mainstream soul singers. She may not be as street-smart as Mary J. Blige, nor does she push the boundaries of the genre the way TLC does, but she has a full, rich voice that instantly lends her songs a sense of maturity and sensuality, especially since she never, ever oversings or misjudges her material. And, while that material can occasionally be a little generic, much of The Heat is built on solid ballads and smoldering, mid-tempo dance numbers. Producers as diverse as Babyface, Rodney Jerkins, Daryl Simmons, Teddy Bishop, and David Foster are responsible for various tracks on the album, which is typical for a big-budget, superstar release like this, but rarely are the tracks quite as consistent and cohesive as they are here.
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The skittering beats of “He Wasn’t Man Enough” and “Gimme Some” are every bit as effective as the simmering title track or ballads “I’m Still Breathing” and “Spanish Guitar” — or “Just Be a Man About It,” an instant classic telephone breakup song, with Dr. Dre playing the wayward lover breaking the news to Ms. Braxton. True, The Heat slightly runs out of momentum toward the end, but there aren’t many dull spots on the record — it’s all stylish, sultry, seductive, appealing urban contemporary soul that confirms Braxton’s prodigious talents. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
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Personnel:
Teddy Bishop (keyboards, programming)
Toni Braxton (vocals, keyboards)
Dorian “Soul Dog” Daniels (keyboards, bass)
Nathan East (bass)
Ray Edwards (keyboards)
Greg Phillinganes (piano)
John Smith (guitar)
Scott Storch (keyboards, programming)
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Dr. Dre (additional vocals)
Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (rap)
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Background vocals:
Trina Braxton – Deborah Killings

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Tracklist:
01. He Wasn’t Man Enough  (R.Jerkins/F.Jerkins III/Daniels/Mason, Jr) 4.21
02. The Heat (Lewis/Braxton) 3.30
03. Spanish Guitar (Warren/Foster) 4.47
04. Just Be A Man About It  (Braxton/Austin/Bishop/Cox) 4.50
05. Gimme Some (featuring Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes) (Alexander/Braxton/Babyface/Lopes/Pha  4.03
06. I’m Still Breathing  (Warren/Foster 4.15
07. Fairy Tale”  Marc Harris, Tommy Sims, Babyface  Babyface  4:22
08. The Art Of Love  Toni Braxton, Keri Lewis  Braxton, Lewis  3:47
09. Speaking In Tongues (Braxton/Lewis) 3.46
10. Maybe (Braxton/Crouch/Gause/Jamison/Smith) 3.08
11. You’ve Been Wrong  (Braxton/Brian Casey/Brandon Casey/Bishop/Hicks/Bell/Creed) 3.45
12. Never Just For A Ring (Simmons/Braxton/Daniels) 4.01
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Marshall Tucker Band – A New Life (1974)

frontcover1A New Life is the second album by The Marshall Tucker Band. It was recorded in Macon, Georgia at Capricorn Studios.

Perhaps the only reason that New Life isn’t quite as memorable as its self-titled predecessor is that the band’s debut was just so startling when it appeared. By the time New Life was issued in 1974, to the band’s credit, it seemed like the Marshall Tucker Band sound had always been a part of America’s rock & roll scene. New Life is earthier than the first album, and country music is less layered over by the trappings of jam-band rock. “Blue Ridge Mountain Sky” is only eclipsed by Dickey Betts’ “Ramblin’ Man” as the ultimate road song from the period. Likewise, the pedal steel blues of “Too Stubborn” echo an earlier era altogether, as the ghost of Bob Wills comes into Toy Caldwell’s songwriting. The whining guitars and lilting woodwinds of the title track bring the jazzier elements in the band’s sound to the fore and wind them seamlessly into a swirling, pastoral country music. The Muscle Shoals horns lend a hand on the Allman Brothers’ Brothers and Sisters-influenced “Another Cruel Love,” and guest Charlie Daniels’ fiddle cooks up a bluegrass stew on “24 Hours at a Time.” The sound is fantastically balanced and warm, and like its predecessor, this album has dated very well. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Tommy Caldwell (bass, background vocals)
Toy Caldwell – guitar, steel guitar, slide guitar, vocals on 03. + 11.)
Doug Gray (vocals, guitar, percussion)
Jerry Eubanks (flute, saxophone, keyboards, background vocals)
George McCorkle (guitar, Banjo)
Paul Riddle (drums)
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Charlie Daniels (fiddle)
Earl Ford (horn)
Paul Hornsby (keyboards)
Oscar Jackson (horn)
Jaimoe (percussion)
Todd Logan (horn)
Harold Williams (horn)

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Tracklist:
01. A New Life 6.44
02. Southern Woman 7.55
03. Blue Ridge Mountain Sky 3.37
04. Too Stubborn 3.58
05. Another Cruel Love 3.58
06. You Ain’t Foolin’ Me 7.03
07. 24 Hours At A Time 5.04
08. Fly Eagle Fly 4.25
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09. Another Cruel Love” (Live at Uhlein Hall, Milwaukee, WI, July 11, 1974) 4.23
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Eagles – One Of These Nights (1975)

frontcover1One of These Nights is the fourth studio album by the Eagles, released in 1975. The record would become the Eagles’ first number one album on Billboard’s album chart in July that year, and yielded three Top 10 singles, “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It to the Limit”. Its title song is the group’s second number one single on the Billboard Hot 100. The album sold four million copies and was nominated for Grammy Album of the Year. A single from the album, “Lyin’ Eyes”, was also nominated for Record of the Year, and won the Eagles’ first Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

One of These Nights is the last Eagles album to feature guitarist Bernie Leadon, who was later replaced by Joe Walsh. Leadon left the band after the One Of These Nights tour. The seventh track, “Visions”, is the only Eagles song on which lead guitarist Don Felder sang the lead vocals, despite his desire to write and sing more songs. The album was the band’s commercial breakthrough, transforming them into international superstars and establishing them as America’s number one band. They went on a worldwide tour to promote the Album.
The Eagles began working on their fourth album in late 1974. Glenn Frey and Don Henley wrote four of the nine songs by themselves, and they also collaborated with other members of the band on three other songs. Many of the songs were written while Frey and tshirtHenley were sharing a house in Beverly Hills, including “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, “Take It To The Limit” and “After The Thrill Is Gone”. Henley joked in an interview with Cameron Crowe that it was their “satanic country-rock period” because “it was a dark time, both politically and musically” in America, referring to the turmoil in Washington and disco music starting to take off. He added: “We thought, “Well, how can we write something with that flavor, with that kind of beat, and still have the dangerous guitars?” We wanted to capture the spirit of the times.”
Frey said that “One Of These Nights was the most fluid and ‘painless’ album [they] ever made”, and thought that the quality of the songs he wrote with Henley had improved dramatically. However, Leadon was becoming increasingly unhappy during the making of the album. He wrote three of the nine songs, none of which was released as a single. He was unhappy with the more rock direction of the band that Frey preferred, at one time walking out of a meeting to discuss which take to use after the recording of a rock track. Leadon would leave the band in late 1975, after the album was released.
Frey also began to sing less as a lead singer starting with this album, singing solo lead on only one song (“Lyin’ Eyes”) and sharing lead vocals with Henley on another (“After the Thrill Is Gone”). Henley later said: “[Glenn] was generous in that respect … If I began to do more than he did, it was because if someone had a strong suit he would play that card. ‘You sing this, you sing it better,’ that kind of thing.” Randy Meisner sings lead on two songs, one of which, “Take it to the Limit”, a composition he co-wrote with Frey and Henley, was released as the third single from the album. It is the only Eagles single on which Meisner sings lead.
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The cover for the album is an image of an artwork by Boyd Elder, also known as “El Chingadero”. Elder created artwork of painted skulls in the early 1970s, and pieces of his work, titled “American Fetish”, were exhibited in an art gallery in Venice, California in 1972. Among those who attended the opening were members of the Eagles who performed “Witchy Woman” at the show, an early appearance by the band as the Eagles. Elder was also a friend of the album cover designer Gary Burden, who had been responsible for the Eagles’ three previous albums and who was interested in using one of Elder’s pieces for this cover.[10] Elder presented two of his works to the Eagles in Dallas in late 1974, one of which was then chosen for the cover of One of These Nights. Later another work of Elder, an image of an eagle’s skull, would be used for the cover of Their Greatest Hits album. The painted animal skull motif was also used in the cover for their compilation album The Very Best of, and the skull of One of These Nights was used for the cover of the documentary History of the Eagles.
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The album cover for One of These Nights is the last Eagles album design on which Burden was involved. He made the skull stand up off the page by debossing large areas together with detailed and elaborate embossing in the wings and feathers. According to Burden, the cover image represents where the band was coming from and where they were going – “The cow skull is pure cowboy, folk, the decorations are American Indian inspired and the future is represented by the more polished reflective glass beaded surfaces covering the skull. All set against the dark eagle feather wings that speak of mysterious powers.” The album artwork received a Grammy nomination for Best Album Package.
Stephen Holden of Rolling Stone, in an early review of the album, expressed a liking for the album for its relative lack of conceptual pretension compared to the Eagles’ previous albums, but did not consider it a great album. He thought the band’s ensemble playing “unprecedentedly excellent” but they “lack an outstanding singer”, and that while “many of their tunes are pretty, none are eloquent.” He added: “And for all their worldly perceptiveness, the Eagles’ lyrics never transcend Hollywood slickness. Their hard rock has always seemed a bit forced, constructed more from commercial considerations than from any urgent impulse to boogie. And when the Eagles attempt to communicate wild sexuality, they sound only boyishly enthused. These limitations, however, seem built-in to the latter-day concept of Southern California rock, of which the Eagles remain the unrivaled exponents.
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“The Rolling Stone Album Guide judged the album to be the band’s “most musically adventurous outing yet, flirting with disco on the title song, a waltz on “Take It to the Limit”, and bluegrass psychedelia on Leadon’s “Journey of the Sorcerer”.
William Ruhlmann of AllMusic in a retrospective review was more favorable; he thought that it had more original material and that the material was more polished. He wrote: “One of These Nights was the culmination of the blend of rock, country, and folk styles the Eagles had been making since their start; there wasn’t much that was new, just the same sorts of things done better than they had been before. In particular, a lyrical stance—knowing and disillusioned, but desperately hopeful—had evolved, and the musical arrangements were tighter and more purposeful. The result was the Eagles’ best-realized and most popular album so far.”
The album first entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 25 the week of its release, and climbed to No. 1 in its fourth week on the chart, where it then stayed the next four weeks. It is the first of the four consecutive No. 1 albums by the Eagles. The album was certified Gold three weeks after its release on June 30, 1975, and it received its 4× Platinum certification on March 20, 2001, signifying shipment of over 4 million copies in the United States.
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Personnel:
Don Felder (vocals, guitar, slide guitar)
Glenn Frey (vocals, guitar,  piano, harmonium)
Don Henley (vocals, drums, percussion, tabla)
Bernie Leadon (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, pedal steel-guitar)
Randy Meisner (vocals, bass)
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David Bromberg (fiddle on 04.)
Albhy Galuten – Synthesizer on 03.)
Jim Ed Norman – piano on 05. + 06.)
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The Royal Martian Orchestra conducted by Jim Ed Norman (04.)
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Tracklist:
01. One Of These Nights (Henley/Frey) 4.51
02. Too Many Hands (Meisner/Felder) 4.43
03. Hollywood Waltz (B.Leadon/T.Leadon/Henley/Frey) 4.04
04. Journey Of The Sorcerer (B. Leadon) 6.40
05. Lyin’ Eyes (Henley/Frey) 6.22
06. Take It To The Limit (Meisner/Henley/Frey) 4.49
07. Visions (Felder/Henley) 3.58
08. After The Thrill Is Gone (Henley/Frey) 3.56
09. I Wish You Peace (Davis/B. Leadon) 3.45
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Chet Baker Sextet – Chet Is Back (1962)

frontcover1Chet Is back! is a 1962 studio album by jazz musician Chet Baker.
Chet Is Back! was recorded in Rome, Italy in 1962 at RCA’s Studios, showcasing bop-oriented tunes such as “Pent-Up House” and “Well, You Needn’t”. The Chet Baker Sextet consisted of a group of up-and-coming European jazz musicians, which included Belgian saxophonist Bobby Jaspar, Belgian guitarist Rene Thomas, Italian pianist Amedeo Tommasi, French bassist Benoit Quersin, and Swiss drummer Daniel Humair.
The album features an original composition, “Ballata in forma di blues” (A Ballad in Blues Style), by Amedeo Tommasi. Ballads are featured, including “Over the Rainbow”, “Star Eyes”, and “These Foolish Things”. Compositions by other jazz musicians are also featured, such as Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t”, Sonny Rollins’ “Pent Up House”, Charlie Parker’s “Barbados”, and Oscar Pettiford’s “Blues in the Closet”.
On the 2003 CD reissue of Chet Is Back!, four orchestral pop bonus tracks Baker recorded with Ennio Morricone in Rome in 1962 are featured, “Chetty’s Lullaby”, “So che ti perderò”, “Motivo su raggio di luna”, and “Il mio domani”, which Baker co-wrote with lyricist Alessandro Maffei. Morricone arranged the songs and conducted the orchestra. Baker plays trumpet and sings lead vocals on these four tracks originally released as 45 singles by RCA Victor in 1962 in Italy. (by wikipedia)
Recorded in Italy in 1962, Chet Is Back! showcases the “cool” trumpeter cutting loose on such bop-oriented workouts as “Pent-Up House” and “Well, You Needn’t.” Backed skillfully by a young cadre of up-and-coming European musicians, including the stellar saxophonist Bobby Jaspar, Chet Baker may have never sounded better, including on the ballads. One listen to “Over the Rainbow” and it’s clear this is an overlooked Baker classic.
(by Matt Collar)
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Personnel:
Chet Baker (trumpet)
Daniel Humair (drums)
Bobby Jaspar (saxophone, flute)
Benoit Quersin (bass)
René Thomas (guitar)
Amedeo Tommasi (piano)
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Tracklist
01. Well, You Needn’t (Monk) 6.23
02. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You) (Link/Marvell/Strachey) 4.56
03. Barbados (Parker) 8.26
04. Star Eyes (Raye/de Paul) 6.58
05. Over The Rainbow (Arlen/Koehler) 3.30
06. Pent-Up House (Rollins) 6.51
07. Ballata in forma di blues (Tommasi) 10.06
08. Blues In The Closet (Pettiford) 7.41
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Al Jarreau – Look To The Rainbow (1977)

aljarreaufrontcover1Look to the Rainbow is a live album by Al Jarreau, released on May 27, 1977 by Warner Bros. Records. It marked a breakthrough for his career in Europe and later also in the US. It won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
In 1976 Jarreau made his first live appearances in Europe, starting with concerts at the jazz festivals in Montreux and Berlin. The following year he began his first tour through 16 cities in Europe starting with a gig at Onkel Pö’s in Hamburg. Look to the Rainbow is a set of recordings from that tour.
The title song “Look to the Rainbow” is from the musical Finian’s Rainbow, a Broadway production from the late 1940s. The most recognized song on this album is Jarreau’s interpretation of Paul Desmond’s classic jazz number “Take Five”, which was also released as a single in an edited version in 1977.
Both tour and album brought him enthusiastic reviews in Germany, where he immediately became a darling of the public, while his recognition in the US remained low until he received his first Grammy in 1978.
Look to the Rainbow is a jazz-oriented album which is characterized by a unique light and open sound. With no guitar or brass instruments, accompanied by Tom Canning’s Fender Rhodes (in some places supported by an ARP String Ensemble) and Lynn Blessing’s vibraphone, Al Jarreau’s voice is the main lead instrument and he uses it intensely as such.
Allmusic states that of the albums from Jarreau’s Warner Brothers period, this is “easily the most jazz-oriented”. It further cites his abilities “as a brilliant scat singer (able to emulate practically any instrument)” and also a “superior ballad interpreter” as evident on this recording.
Reviews in the UK’s music press were mixed. Melody Maker was full of praise for the album, claiming that Jarreau “has taken the seemingly well-worn genre of the freely improvising jazz singer and conjured it, miraculously, back to life”. The review observed that “like all the best artists, Jarreau does not work in a vacuum, but as the successor to a great tradition. When he performs, you can hear the expected echoes of King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks, upon whose foundation he is building so sensationally, and you can also hear a number of contemporary singers, mostly black, with whom he is so obviously in touch.” It concluded, “There is not one second of the four sides that is not the purest magic… at last, [Jarreau] has an album worthy of his monster talent”.
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Sounds also gave the record a positive review, stating that “Al’s always crisply precise: intense but not passionate up until the climax of, say, ‘Take Five’, when his scat shoots blind/wild, like a flock of demented starlings whizzing round a cage”, and describing the album as “a great sophisticates’ record, sensual petals of music unfold and furl again with Cartier elegance”. However, NME was less enthusiastic, saying that “Look to the Rainbow is a good representation of Jarreau live. It’s relaxed and intimate, the mood hardly varies throughout and the pace never gets more frantic than a light, funky backbeat that creeps in for some of the songs… The result is homogenous and patently easy to listen to. Therein lies the problem. If you weren’t looking for a memento of Jarreau’s concert […] there wouldn’t be much here to attract attention. Jarreau’s unusual voice is at first beguiling, but soon becomes gimmicky, like a hipper male version of Cleo Laine. When he gets funky (as on ‘So Long Girl’) there’s little to complain about but on the slower songs the combination of his voice and the milky sentimentality becomes irritating… Look to the Rainbow is too close to MOR for comfort.”
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In Germany Der Spiegel stated, “In a deliberately confusing game of phrases and syllables tone-figures become meaning, words transform into pure sound”).
Die Zeit was also enthusiastic: “It wouldn’t surprise us if we’ve seen the new Sammy Davis Jr. arrive on the scene”). (by Wikipedia)
The Grammy-winning jazz singer Al Jarreau died on Sunday in a Los Angeles hospital, days after announcing his retirement from touring due to exhaustion.
Jarreau was taken to hospital earlier in the week and was said to have been improving slowly. His official Twitter account and website said he died around 6am local time. He was 76.
A statement posted to Facebook said Jarreau “passed away this morning. He was in the hospital, kept comfortable by his wife, son, and a few of his family and friends. A small, private service is planned, for immediate family only. No public service is planned yet this time”.(by theguardian.com)
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Personnel:
Lynn Blessing (vibraphone)
Tom Canning (keyboards)
Joe Correro (drums, Percussion)
Al Jarreau (vocals)
Abraham Laboriel (bass)
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Tracklist:
01 Letter Perfect (Jarreau) 5.16
02. Rainbow In Your Eyes (Russell) 6.17
03. One Good Turn (Jarreau) 6.30
04. Could You Believe (Jarreau) 6.49
05. Burst In With The Dawn (Jarreau) 7.24
06. Better Than Anything (Loughborough/Wheat) 5.08
07. So Long Girl (Jarreau) 3.44
08. Look To The Rainbow (Harburg/Lane) 7.54
09. You Don’t See Me (Jarreau) 6.44
10. Take Five (Desmond) 7.20
11. Loving You (Jarreau) 5.00
12. We Got By (Jarreau) 6.57
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Good Charlotte – Good Morning Revival (2007)

frontcover1Good Morning Revival is the fourth studio album by American pop punk band Good Charlotte and the follow-up to the 2004 release The Chronicles of Life and Death. It is the first album to feature Dean Butterworth on drums, who joined the band in March 2005 after former drummer Chris Wilson departed in 2005. Billy Martin has mentioned in an interview that Benji Madden came up with the name for the album. This style can be heard in the album’s third single, “Dance Floor Anthem”, which is the most successful song on the album by debuting at No. 2 on the Australian charts and reaching No.25 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is the final album by Good Charlotte to be released through Daylight Records; they subsequently signed a deal with Capitol. (by wikipedia)
It’s not that Good Charlotte is incapable of writing good pop songs, it’s that the band’s music has never had any authenticity to it. The high-gloss pop rock of 2002’s The Young and the Hopeless masqueraded as punk, cynically emphasizing image over music, while 2004’s bloated The Chronicles of Life and Death attempted to show growth musically, and save for the odd pleasant surprise (the oddly contagious “I Just Wanna Live”, for instance), it sputtered, trying far too hard to seem more profound than the band actually is. Whether it’s Joel Madden’s persistently flat singing voice that sounds devoid of any personality, the hackneyed lyrics and song titles, or his band’s constant hopping onto whatever the musical trend is at the moment, Good Charlotte has all the focus of the MySpace and Facebook-addled children the band caters to, appropriating whatever’s in fashion, mangling it all in a soul-killing process of musical mastication and masturbation, and spewing out a product whose triteness is overshadowed only by its complete lack of sincerity.
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This time around, it’s the kid-friendly angst of Fallout Boy, the post-punk-infused pop of Panic! At the Disco, and the slick flamboyance of the Killers that the band is keen on grabbing a slice of, but unlike past efforts, the scary thing about Good Morning Revival is just how close these boys have come to actually succeeding. The hooks are there, the production, courtesy Linkin Park producer Don Gilmore, is there, the window dressing is all there (dance-inspired beats, soaring emo choruses), but there’s not a second where we believe that Good Charlotte means it, and their complete inability to show any eloquence in their lyrics makes this record ring all the more hollow. If you’re going to sing banal lyrics, you had damn well better sell it like it’s gospel, but Madden simply mails it all in, as if he’s seeing the words for the first time as he sings them.
For three quarters of the album, as mentioned, this is very catchy music. Backed with sequenced beats, blips, and synth chords, “Misery” boasts a borderline gorgeous chorus, but is completely undermined by Madden’s witless diatribe about “plastic people” and how, you guessed it, miserable he is. The pulsating “The River” is watered down thanks to Madden’s imitation of Brandon Flowers imitating Bruce Springsteen, while “Keep Your Hands Off My Girl” boasts a killer falsetto hook, but we can’t tell if the song’s posturing is supposed to be genuine or satire. If there’s one song that comes closest to getting it right on all levels, it’s “Dance Floor Anthem”, which audaciously swipes the Rapture’s tiresome dance-punk gimmickry and leans heavily on Good Charlotte’s goofiest chorus to date (“Everybody put your hands up / Say, I don’t wanna be in love”) to great effect. And buried late in the album, long after we’ve given up hope, lies the oddly charming “Something Else”, a little tune that nicely mimics the ebullient pop of Fountains of Wayne, from the call-and-response vocals to the undulating Moog synth.
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Too often, though, we get dragged down into the depressing morass of Good Charlotte’s faux-profundity. “Where Would We Be Now” shamelessly rips off Coldplay’s piano-driven balladry, “Victims of Love” takes the dance shtick too far, and “March On”‘s attempt at a populist anthem falls flat. Nothing can quite compare to the level of ridiculousness the band stoops to on the unintentionally hilarious “All Black”, a flirtation with goth rock that has us wincing from the bombastic, pseudo-orchestral intro, and guffawing by the time we hear those lyrics: “Take a look at my life, all black / Take a look at my clothes, all black / Like Johnny Cash, all black / Like the Rolling Stones / Wanna paint it black”. Please, Joel, just stop.
Going back to that album five years ago, it’s clear Good Charlotte knows how to come up with a good melody or two, but they either need to make what for them would be a quantum leap in the lyric writing department, or find a singer who can convince us that such schlock is genuine. We can live with the genre-hopping; you have to do what you can to stay in the heads of the kids these days. Just try and sound like you mean it, alright? (Adrien Begrand)
In other words: This is the perfect power-pop-rock Album !
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Personnel:
Dean Butterworth (drums, percussion)
Benji Madden (guitar, background vocals)
Joel Madden (vocals)
Billy Martin (lead guitar, keyboards)
Paul Thomas (bass)
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Synyster Gates (lead guitar, background  vocals on 03.)
M. Shadows (vocals on 03.)
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The Incognito Horns (horn on 08.)

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background vocals:
Bobbi Page – Carmen Carter – Maxine Waters – Terry Wood
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Tracklist:
01. Good Morning Revival (J,Madden/B.Madden) 0.56
02. Misery (J,Madden/B.Madden/Gilmore) 3.49
03. The River (J,Madden/B.Madden) 3.15
04. Dance Floor Anthem (J,Madden/B.Madden/Gilmore) 4.04
05. Keep Your Hands Off My Girl (J,Madden/B.Madden) 3.25
06. Victims Of Love  (J,Madden/B.Madden/Gilmore) 3.45
07. Where Would We Be Now (Martin/J,Madden/B.Madden) 3.58
08. Break Apart Her Heart (J,Madden/B.Madden/Gilmore(Thomas) 3.19
09. All Black (J,Madden/B.Madden/Gilmore) 4.19
10.Beautiful Place (J,Madden/B.Madden/Gilmore) 3.50
11. Something Else (J,Madden/B.Madden/Gilmore)  3.19
12. Broken Hearts Parade (J,Madden/B.Madden/Gilmore) 3.15
13. March On (J,Madden/B.Madden/Gilmore) 3.13
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*
**

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Alquin – Nobody Can Wait Forever (1975)

frontcover1Alquin is a band from The Netherlands whose debut album is a versatile, Canterburish album. Alquin’s second album is the best in their catalogue. With the third album there were some changes. The band wanted to make less complicated music, and more rock music. To achieve this they asked producer Rodger Bain. They also had a new vocalist, Michel van Dijk (ex-Ekseption). He had a more powerful voice, than Tarenskeen, and this fitted the music they were aiming for better.
The opener still sounds like the old Alquin, keyboard orientated music with good guitar and sax solos. Compared to the first two albums, the tracks are more vocal orientated. After the opener it is more straightforward rock as in Mr Widow and Farewell, Miss Barcelona, or even hardrock in Wheelchair Groupie. There are however still beautiful instrumental passages and great solos (for instance in the middle part of Stranger). The best track on this album and the most progressive is the last one. Still a good album, but not as impressive as their second one. (by Agemo)
This is the best Alquin album. On this album are some powerfull tracks like New Guinea Sunrise, Stranger, Darling Superstar, Revolution’s Eve and the single Wheelchair Groupie. Alquin plays progressive rock with some blues influences. Your hear the hammond organ, sax and guitar as the main instruments together with the beautiful voice of Michel van Dijk (ex-Ekseption). A good album is it’s predecessor Mountain Queen. (by hcklvanzessen )
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Although less progressive than the two previous albums, this is by far my favourite ALQUIN record. This is the first album that feature vocalist Michael Van Dijk, his versatile performance in addition to the new approach of the compositions gives a powerful and overall fresher sound to the band. Highlights are the album opener, the almost hard-rocker Stranger and the album closer Revolution’s Eve, coincidentaly the proggiest tracks on this record.
While most people may enjoy the two previous albums better, I prefer the less complicated compositions featured on this album, as I said before ALQUIN managed to sound really fresh and powerful but keeping their progressive influences. (by Prosciutto)
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Personnel:
Ferdinand Bakker (guitar, piano, vocals)
Michel van Dijk (vocals)
Dick Franssen (keyboards, synthesizer)
Hein Mars (bass)
Ronald Ottenhoff (Saxophone, flute)
Job Tarenskeen (saxophone, vocals, drums, percussion)
Paul Weststrate (drums)
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The Thunderthighs (background vocals)
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Tracklist:
01. New Guinea Sunrise (Bakker/Mars/Franssen/Ottenhoff) 6.37
01.1. Sunrise
01.2.Wake Me Up
02. Mr. Widow (Mars/Franssen/Ottenhoff) 3.32
03. Stranger (Bakker/v.Dijk) 6.41
03.1. Stranger
03.2. You Might As Well Fall
04. Darling Superstar (Bakker/v.Dijk)
05. Farewell, Miss Barcelona (Bakker/Tarenskeen) 2.58
06. Wheelchair Groupie (Bakker/Tarenskeen) 3.12
07. Revolution’s Eve 7.27
07.1.Revolution’s Theme (Bakker/Mars/Franssen/Ottenhoff)
07.2. Nobody Can’t Wait Forever (Bakker/Tarenskeen)
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She moved her chair up on the stage
Her Hasselblad was on her knees
Watch her eyes, she lookes so happy
And see her smile, oh I know it’s not for me
Wheelchair groupie
Oooooh, wheelchair groupie
Her wonderboy came down the stairs
With silver pants and golden hair
Watch her eyes, she lookes so happy
And see her smile, oh I know it’s not for me
Wheelchair groupie
Oooooh, wheelchair groupie
Watch it . . .