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27
Sep

Queen + Paul Rodgers – The Cosmos Rocks (2008)

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Queen + Paul Rodgers (sometimes referred to as Q+PR or QPR) was a collaboration between Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor) and Paul Rodgers formerly of Bad Company, Free, The Firm and The Law.

The Cosmos Rocks is the only studio album by Queen + Paul Rodgers (and Queen‘s sixteenth album overall), released on 15 September 2008. It contains 14 new tracks written by Brian May, Roger Taylor, and Paul Rodgers. This is the first studio album of new material from the two remaining members of Queen since 1995′s Made in Heaven.

The album’s release came 17 years after the death in 1991 of former Queen singer Freddie Mercury
Give Queen — or Brian May and Roger Taylor, as that’s who’s left at this point — and new singer Paul Rodgers this much credit: this awkward marriage of convenience winds up being more convincing on the 2008 studio effort The Cosmos Rocks than it did on the live album.
Of course, this is almost entirely due to the fact that the songs here were written by and for Rodgers, a frontman who is a cosmos away from Freddie Mercury and never quite seemed comfortable taming Freddie‘s flamboyancy. Here, Rodgers effectively rules the roost, helping steer The Cosmos Rocks far, far away from the meticulous, grandiose sonic sculptures of Queen at the height of their reign and toward a humble boogie.

At its best, this can sound a bit like a second-rate Bad Company, at its worst it feels like Free — not quite like Queen, but not necessarily unenjoyable either, thanks in part to a Brian May who seems, frankly, thrilled to play new songs again. That none of these songs are good — hell, some of them are frankly embarrassing, especially when Rodgers channels his inner David St. Hubbins to sing “The cosmos is rocking with the majestic power of rock” — is almost beside the point.

This is all clichés — glittering gold, rock & roll and school’s out — but the band seems happy to shuffle the pieces and put them together in a slightly different order, to get whatever meager charge there is by following a 20-degree curve instead of a 15-degree one. There are hints of the old craziness — thank the stars for “C-Lebrity,” a monumentally silly satire of TMZ married to the only outsized arrangement here, but “Call Me” also comes close to capturing the bright pop of The Game — but this is firmly Rodgers‘ show; it’s all meat and potatoes, not champagne and caviar. And, truth be told, it’s not all that bad.

Certainly, it’s not the embarrassment of the live album, but it has its own internal logic that keeps it humming along, and that’s good enough for a listen and to get the band out on tour again, even it’s not good enough for a second spin.

Three singles were released from the album:

  • “Say It’s Not True” was the lead single from the album, released in the UK on 31 December 2007; it reached #90 in the British charts although had been available as free download for some time. Its video features many clips of the suffering in South Africa as well as clips from Nelson Mandela‘s 46664 concerts. The single was released for the 46664 charity, with all proceeds being donated there.
  • “C-lebrity” was released as the album’s second single on 8 September 2008, reaching #33 in the UK singles charts. Its B-side was a recording of “Fire and Water” live in Japan.
  • “We Believe” was released as a promo single in Italy, and reached #4 in the Virgin radio charts. It was edited down from its original 6-minute album version to less than 4 minutes.

 

Track listing

1.  “Cosmos Rockin'”  (Roger Taylor) – 4:10
2.  “Time to Shine”  (Paul Rodgers) – 4:23
3.  “Still Burnin'”  (Brian May) – 4:04
4.  “Small”  (Taylor) – 4:39
5.  “Warboys”  (Rodgers) – 3:18
6.  “We Believe”  (May) – 6:08
7.  “Call Me”  (Rodgers) – 2:59
8.  “Voodoo”  (Rodgers) – 4:27
9.  “Some Things That Glitter”  (May) – 4:03
10.  “C-lebrity”  (Taylor) – 3:38
11.  “Through the Night”  (Rodgers) – 4:54
12.  “Say It’s Not True”  (Taylor) – 4:00
13.  “Surf’s Up… School’s Out!”  (Taylor) – 5:56
14.  “Small Reprise”  (Taylor) – 2:03

iTunes exclusive bonus track
15. “Runaway”  (Del Shannon, Max Crook) – 5:28

Amazon.com bonus track
15. “Fire and Water (Live from Japan)” (B-side to “C-lebrity” single) (Rodgers, Andy Fraser) – 2:51

All tracks are written by Queen + Paul Rodgers.

 

Personnel

  • Brian May – guitar, backing and lead vocals, bass, keyboards, piano
  • Roger Taylor – drums, backing and lead vocals, percussion, keyboards
  • Paul Rodgers – lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, harmonica
  • Taylor Hawkins – backing vocals on “C-lebrity”

 

Companies, etc.

 

Credits

 

Notes
Released: 15 September 2008
Recorded: October 2006 – August 2008 Studio The Priory recording studio
Genre: Rock
Length: 67:05

Label – Parlophone / Hollywood

27
Sep

Local H – Pack Up The Cats (1998)

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Local H is an American rock band originally formed by guitarist and vocalist Scott Lucas, bassist Matt Garcia, drummer Joe Daniels, and lead guitarist John Sparkman in Zion, Illinois in 1990. The members all met in high school in 1987 and founded Local H three years later.
They are known for their unorthodox two-piece setup.
Local H‘s second album, 1996’s As Good as Dead, was a brave and powerful (though ultimately very depressing) concept piece about a guy utterly defeated by his inability to get out of the nowhere town where he grew up.
In one sense, Local H‘s follow-up, 1998’s Pack Up the Cats, can be seen as a companion piece, a song cycle that follows a small town rock dude as he decides to sell out and shoot for the big time — and fails miserably, ending up farther in the hole than he started.
Both ironically and appropriately, Pack Up the Cats is a good bit glossier and more engaging than As Good as Dead, not to mention a lot funnier; Roy Thomas Baker‘s production files down a few of the band’s jagged edges and brings out the hooks in Scott Lucas‘ melodies while maintaining the grit of Lucas’ guitar and the hard punch of Joe Daniels‘ drums.
But just as part of what made As Good as Dead so harrowing was the fact that Lucas obviously saw a bit of himself in his principal character, Pack Up the Cats was Local H‘s make-or-break third album, and while it’s a clear bid for a bigger place in the spotlight, at the same time Lucas and Daniels obviously understood and couldn’t help commenting on the odds against them: The album’s catchiest track, “All the Kids Are Right,” is a superbly anthemic fist-pumping rocker about a band playing the worst show of its life.
(Significantly, “All the Kids Are Right” was starting to climb the charts when Polygram’s merger with Universal effectively killed the album — a real-world disaster even Lucas couldn’t predict.) While Pack Up the Cats‘ ironies aren’t always subtle, they also bear the ring of truth, and the duo’s tough but hooky punch carries the album along through tales of busted romances, bad record deals, and annoying roadies.
Lots of musicians have written songs about the ups and downs of their lives in the music biz, but few have done so with as much self-searching honesty and humor — mostly of the “whistling past the graveyard” variety — as Local H did on Pack Up the Cats.

 

Track listing

1.  “All-Right (Oh, Yeah)” – 3:09
2.  “Cha!” Said the Kitty” – 2:57
3.  “Lucky” – 0:48
4.  “Hit the Skids or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rock” – 4:38
5.  “500,000 Scovilles” – 1:36
6.  “What Can I Tell You?” – 4:52
7.  “Fine and Good” – 4:08
8.  “Lead Pipe Cinch” – 1:04
9.  “Cool Magnet” – 4:07
10.  “She Hates My Job” – 4:08
11.  “Stoney” – 1:41
12.  “Laminate Man” – 3:17
13.  “All the Kids Are Right” – 3:48
14.  “Deep Cut” – 2:26
15.  “Lucky Time” – 4:59

Bonus disc

  1. It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)” (AC/DC cover) – 4:52
  2. “Answering Machine” – 7:41

 

Local H
Guest musicians
Production
  • Roy Thomas Baker – producer, mixing
  • Nick DiDia – engineer, mixing
  • Lisa Ellis – assistant
  • George Marino – mastering
  • Eric Hoffman – assistant
  • Ryan Williams – engineer
  • Kevin Allison – assistant

 

Notes
Released: September 1, 1998
Recording Location: RTB Audio Visual Production, Lake Havasu City, AZ
Genre: Grunge, alternative rock
Length: 60:11

Label – Island Records

26
Sep

Kula Shaker – Strangefolk (2007)

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Strangefolk is the third album by Kula Shaker, the first album since the band reformed. The album has received mixed reviews since its release. It entered the UK charts at number 69. Strangefolk was produced in collaboration with an all-star team of hit makers and Grammy winners, including Tchad Blake (Peter Gabriel, Crowded House), Sam Williams (Supergrass) and Chris Sheldon (The Foo Fighters, Pixies).

Tommy Duncan once sang time changes everything but he never lived to hear Kula Shaker. The British quartet is impervious to time just as they are immune to criticism; they are what they are and nothing will change them, as their 2007 album Strange Folk proves.
Ten years on from their briefly successful Noel-rock era debut K, the band sounds exactly the same — an ungainly mix of early Deep Purple, Small Faces and Traffic spiced with a hint of Beatles, apparent in both swirling psychedelic hooks and George-ian mysticism. They are deeply, inadvertently silly — “Great Dictator (Of the Free World),” a stab at anti-Bush criticism, is powered by the unforgettable chorus of “I’m a dick/I’m a dick/I’m a dictator” — their jams are mushy and rudderless, and they never quite seem aware that their inability to resist clichés turns their exceptional taste in ’60s rock & roll into something terribly tacky, but their gangly grotesqueness is the key to their limited charm. It is hard not to listen to Kula Shaker and their banal, blissfully insulated retro-rock and not be a little amazed that a band can get so many right elements so wrong.
If you share some of their taste, there are two options: to get offended or to enjoy their ongoing quest at public embarrassment as they prove the truth in what Neil Innes once sang: “How Sweet to Be an Idiot.”

 

Track listing

  1. “Out on the Highway” – 3:53
  2. “Second Sight” – 3:42
  3. “Die for Love” – 3:24
  4. “Great Dictator (Of the Free World)” – 3:10
  5. “Strangefolk” – 1:27
  6. “Song of Love / Narayana” – 5:30
  7. “Shadowlands” – 4:09
  8. “Fool That I Am” – 3:53
  9. “Hurricane Season” – 6:03
  10. “Ol’ Jack Tar” – 3:36
  11. “6ft Down Blues” – 3:53
  12. “Dr. Kitt” – 4:00
  13. “Super CB Operator” – 3:11

 

Companies, etc.

 

Credits

Notes
Released:  2007
Genre:  Psychedelic rock
Length:  50:34

Label – StrangeF.O.L.K., CookingVinyl USA

25
Sep

Charlotte Gainsbourg – 5.55 (2006)

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Charlotte Lucy Gainsbourg; born 21 July 1971) is an English-French actress and singer-songwriter. She is the daughter of English actress Jane Birkin and French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. After making her musical debut with her father on the song “Lemon Incest” at the age of 12, she released an album with her father at the age of 15. More than 20 years passed before she released albums as an adult (5:55, IRM, Stage Whisper and Rest) to commercial and critical success.

5:55 is the second album by French musician and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. It was also her first album in twenty years. Charlotte collaborated on the album with French duo Air, English musician Jarvis Cocker, and Irish singer-songwriter Neil Hannon, and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. “The Songs That We Sing” and “5:55” were released as singles.

Even though 5:55 isn’t technically Charlotte Gainsbourg‘s first solo album (that would be Charlotte for Ever, which was released when she was 13), it is her first solo album as an adult and, with the help of a dream team of collaborators, it’s a fittingly sophisticated set that touches on her father Serge‘s brilliantly louche, literate pop without being overshadowed by it. Air‘s Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin (who paid tribute to Serge Gainsbourg particularly well on 10,000 Hz Legend‘s “Wonder Milky Bitch”) wrote 5:55‘s delicate music, while Jarvis Cocker and the Divine Comedy‘s Neil Hannon penned its lyrics. This mingling of French and English influences is mirrored in Gainsbourg‘s subtly expressive voice and accent, which provides the perfect complement to the album’s lush sounds and vivid imagery. On “AF607105” — the most Air-like song here — she’s a stewardess recounting the most glamorous plane crash ever; she performs an autopsy on a relationship on “The Operation,” finally stating that “the heart was rejected by the host.”

As good as the atmospheric heartache of the first half of 5:55 is, it’s on the second half, when Gainsbourg and her crew stretch out a bit, that the album really gets interesting. “Jamais,” a slightly tough, witty cautionary tale about literally acting like you’re in love, is a standout, while the sexy, obsessive “Beauty Mark” and “Everything I Cannot See” would make her father proud.

 

Track listing

1.  “5:55” – 4:52
2.  “AF607105” – 4:30
3.  “The Operation” – 3:59
4.  “Tel Que Tu Es” – 3:09
5.  “The Songs That We Sing” – 2:57
6.  “Beauty Mark” – 3:06
7.  “Little Monsters” – 3:46
8.  “Jamais” Cocker – 4:37
9.  “Night-Time Intermission” – 2:44
10.  “Everything I Cannot See” – 5:45
11.  “Morning Song” – 3:08

Bonus tracks​
12.  “Set Yourself on Fire” – 4:10
13.  “Somewhere Between Waking and Sleeping” – 3:45

All music is composed by Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel.

 

Personnel

 

Notes
Released:  28 August 2006
Recorded at:  Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA / Gang Studios, Paris, France / Rak Studios, London, England
Genre:  Indie pop, dream pop
Length:  50:32

Label – Because Music, Atlantic, Vice

24
Sep

Eric Clapton – Back Home (2005)

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Back Home is the seventeenth solo studio album by Eric Clapton. It was released 29 August 2005 internationally and a day later in the U.S. It is his first album containing new, original material since Reptile (2001), as the previous release Me and Mr. Johnson is an album of song covers of Robert Johnson.
Eric Clapton claimed in the press release for Back Home, his 14th album of original material, that “One of the earliest statements I made about myself was back in the late ’80s, with Journeyman. This album completes that cycle in terms of talking about my whole journey as an itinerant musician and where I find myself now, starting a new family. That’s why I chose the title.

It’s about coming home and staying home.” With that in mind, it becomes clearer that the studio albums Clapton released during the ’90s did indeed follow some sort of thematic logic. 1989’s Journeyman did find Clapton regrouping after a muddled ’80s, returning to the bluesy arena rock and smooth pop that had been his signature sound as a solo artist.

He followed that with 1994’s From the Cradle, where he explicitly returned to the roots of his music by recording an album of blues standards. Four years later, he released Pilgrim, a slick album that had Clapton strengthening his collaboration with producer/co-writer Simon Climie (who first worked with EC on his electronica side project T.D.F.). If Pilgrim touched on father issues, 2001’s Reptile loosely returned Clapton to his childhood (complete with a smiling boyhood shot of him on the cover) and found the guitarist struggling with a seemingly diverse selection of material, ranking from ’50s R&B to James Taylor.

After a brief blues detour on 2004’s Me and Mr. Johnson, Clapton returns to the sound and feel of Reptile for Back Home, but he doesn’t seem to be as tentative or forced as he did there. Instead, he eases comfortably into the domesticity that isn’t just the concept for the album, it’s reason for being. In fact, the album doesn’t need “back” in its title — ultimately, the album is just about being home (which, if the center photo of Clapton at home with his three young daughters and wife is to be believed, looks alarmingly similar to the set of Thomas the Tank Engine, complete with a painted rainbow shining through the window).

While it’s hard to begrudge the 60-year-old guitarist for finding a happy home after all these years, what is puzzling about this calm, comfortable album is that Clapton is equating domestic bliss with a glossy, consciously classy sound that’s swept clean of dirt and grit, or even the blues. Consequently, Back Home is pitched halfway between the lite contemporary soul of Pilgrim and Clapton‘s time as a Michelob spokesman in the late ’80s.

Each track rides a tight, professional groove — sometimes a bluesy vamp, sometimes a reggae jam, usually something soulful but relaxed — and while instruments sometimes bubble up from the mix (sometimes it’s Clapton‘s guitar, but just as often it’s Billy Preston‘s organ, or occasionally a synth straight out of 1987), the emphasis is always on the smooth, shiny surface. Unlike such peers as Bob Dylan, Elton John, and the Rolling Stones who revitalized their recording careers with back-to-basics moves that stripped their music down to its essence, Clapton seems to harbor an aversion to what he built his reputation on, whether it was the lean, sinewy blues of the Yardbirds and Bluesbreakers or the psychedelic freak-outs of Cream, or even the rootsy rock he learned from Delaney & Bonnie in the ’70s. Based on Back Home, it really does seem like he considers Jo

Journeyman ground zero for his solo career, but instead of replicating the well-balanced mix of rock, pop, and blues that made that record one of his best solo efforts, he settles into a tasteful adult pop sound that makes this record the ideal soundtrack to a pleasant Sunday afternoon at home with the family.

 

Track listing

  1. “So Tired”  (Eric Clapton, Simon Climie) – 4:47
  2. “Say What You Will”  (Clapton, Climie) – 4:35
  3. “I’m Going Left”  (Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright) – 4:03
  4. “Love Don’t Love Nobody”  (Joseph Jefferson, Charles Simmons) – 7:13
  5. “Revolution”  (Clapton, Climie) – 5:00
  6. Love Comes to Everyone”  (George Harrison) – 4:35
  7. “Lost and Found”  (Doyle Bramhall II, Jeremy Stacey) – 5:21
  8. “Piece of My Heart”  (Bramhall II, Susannah Melvoin, Mike Elizondo) – 4:22
  9. “One Day”   (Vince Gill, Beverly Darnall) – 5:20
  10. “One Track Mind”  (Clapton, Climie) – 5:04
  11. “Run Home to Me”  (Clapton, Climie) – 6:18
  12. “Back Home”  (Clapton) – 3:33

 

Personnel

 

Production

  • Eric Clapton – producer, cover design concept, liner notes
  • Simon Climie – producer, ProTools engineer
  • Alan Douglas – recording engineer
  • Bea Henkel – second assistant engineer
  • George Renwick – assistant engineer
  • Phillippe Rose – assistant engineer
  • Mick Guzauski – mix engineer
  • Tom Bender – mix assistant
  • Joel Evendeen – assistant ProTools
  • Jonathan Shakhovskoy – assistant ProTools
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering at Gateway Mastering (Portland, ME).
  • Lee Dickson – guitar technician
  • Debbie Johnson – session coordinator (Los Angeles).
  • Bushbranch – management
  • Catherine Roylance – art direction and design
  • Paul Higgens – illustration
  • Chris Sykes – main photography
  • Allan Titmuss – photography
  • Jill Furmanovsky – photography
  • Dunlop Management, Inc. – pick pack concept

 

Notes
Released:  29 August 2005
Recorded:  2004–2005 at The Town House, London, Olympic Studios, London and Los Angeles
Genre:  Blues rock, reggae, folk rock
Length:  60:17

Label – Duck/Reprise Records

24
Sep

Enigma – Voyageur (2003)

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Voyageur is the fifth studio album by the German musical project Enigma and released in 2003.

Voyageur was considered to be Enigma’s most distinctive album to date, due to Enigma’s drastic changes in sound as compared to the previous four albums. The project’s signature shakuhachi flutes, Gregorian chants and tribal chants found on the earlier albums were all but gone on Voyageur. Instead, most of the songs found on the album were more pop-oriented, such as “Voyageur“, “Incognito”, “Boum-Boum” and “Look of Today”; the latter of which interpolates the chorus of ABC‘s hit “The Look of Love“. Michael Cretu described Voyageur’s genre as “sophisticated pop”. Only a few samples of previous works are retained; a familiar reversed cymbal rhythm appears in “Look of Today”, while “Incognito” contains the chorus of previous hit “Sadeness” buried in the bridge of the song. The “Enigma foghorn” also appears at the opening of the record.

Michael Crétu‘s formula of weaving old and new world sounds through new age atmospherics and dance rhythms has resulted in four Enigma discs that have straddled the line between brilliance and self-indulgence. The plodding bombast of 2000’s The Screen Behind the Mirror seemed to signal that Enigma had stretched itself to a point where an explosion of pompous musical goop was imminent.
So what’s to be done when the bubble’s about to burst? Simply ease up, let out some of the stuffy air, and allow for some space to breathe — and that is what Crétu has done with Voyageur. Utilizing a lighter production style, his compositions benefit from the lack of themes, chants, and assorted ethereal voices that began to plague his discs while still retaining the essence of Enigma.

Once again, the songs are seamlessly merged together into a flowing river of music in which there are moments of calm as well as sections that have a swift undercurrent of beats. The mandatory introductory passage, “From East to West,” stretches further than on previous discs as its lightly rolling beats and simple melody suggest a move toward ambient electronica. The following title track reinforces this theory as the danceable beat propels the electro-guitar strums and backing organ like a hit song from a car commercial.

“Incognito” expands the experiment a bit more by tentatively treading into Chemical Brothers territory and, as if to say he’s getting back to basics, Crétu throws in a couple of “Sadeness” samples from Enigma‘s groundbreaking debut disc. Rounding out the excellent first half of the program is the single-worthy “Boum-Boum,” where the pop sounds of *NSYNC exist happily within an Alan Parsons Project world.
Although the beats continue with “Look of Today,” the second half of Voyageur tends to lose focus as tracks like “Weightless” and “The Piano” sound as if they are lost in some kind of new age netherworld. However, with its strong opening and scaling back of theatrics, Voyageur is one of Enigma‘s more successful recordings and sheds new light on an old formula.

This album has been released with the Copy Control protection system in some regions.

 

Track listing

1. “From East to West” – 4:11
2. “Voyageur” – 4:36
3. “Incognito” – 4:23
4. “Page of Cups” – 7:01
5. “Boum-Boum” – 4:29
6. “Total Eclipse of the Moon” – 2:16
7. “Look of Today” – 3:43
8. “In the Shadow, in the Light” – 5:35
9. “Weightless” – 2:15
10. “The Piano” – 3:00
11. “Following the Sun” – 5:49

 

Personnel

Additional personnel
  • Johann Zambryski – artwork

 

Notes
Released: September 30, 2003
Recorded: A.R.T. Studios, Ibiza, 2003
Genre: Europop, new-age, ambient, electronic, experimental
Length: 47:18

Label – Virgin / EMI Records

23
Sep

Bryan Ferry – Mamouna (1994)

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Mamouna is the ninth solo album by the British singer Bryan Ferry, released on Virgin Records in September 1994. It was Ferry’s first album of original material in seven years and he spent six years writing and recording it, under the working title Horoscope. The album peaked at number 11 on the UK Albums Chart.
The album features contributions from former members of Ferry’s band Roxy Music, including Brian Eno who left the band in 1973.
Sufficiently recharged via Taxi, Ferry got down to business and the following year released Mamouna, notable among other things for being his first recordings with the help of Brian Eno since the latter split from Roxy Music back in 1973. Rather than playing the wild card as he so often did, though, Eno concentrates on (to use his own descriptions in the credits) “swoop treatment” and “sonic awareness.”

Slightly more to the fore are Ferry‘s usual range of excellent musicians and pros. Steve Ferrone once again handles drums as he did on Taxi, while Richard Norris also reappears on loops and programming; other familiar faces include Nile Rodgers, Robin Trower (the album’s co-producer), and Carleen Anderson. One of the most intriguing guest appearances comes at the very start — “Don’t Want to Know” has no less than five guitarists, including none other than Roxy‘s own Phil Manzanera. Whereas his ’80s work seemed to fit the times just so, with his own general spin on things providing true individuality as a result, on Mamouna Ferry seems slightly stuck in place. Compared to the variety of Bete Noire, Mamouna almost seems a revamp of Boys and Girls.

Combine that with some of Ferry‘s least compelling songs in a while, and Mamouna is something of a middling affair, almost too tasteful for its own good (and considering who this is, that’s saying something). There are some songs of note — “The 39 Steps” has a slightly menacing vibe to it, appropriate given the cinematic reference of the title, while the Ferry/Eno collaboration “Wildcat Days” displays some of Eno‘s old synth-melting flash. Overall, though, Mamouna is pleasant without being involving.

 

Track listing

  1. “Don’t Want To Know” – 4:07
  2. “N.Y.C.” – 4:10
  3. “Your Painted Smile” – 3:14
  4. “Mamouna” – 5:11
  5. “The Only Face” – 4:40
  6. “The 39 Steps” – 5:01
  7. “Which Way To Turn” – 5:44
  8. “Wildcat Days” (Ferry, Brian Eno) – 4:34
  9. “Gemini Moon” – 3:47
  10. “Chain Reaction” – 5:08
  11. In Every Dream Home a Heartache” (Live) – 7:34 [Japan only bonus track]
  12. “Bête Noire” (Ferry, Patrick Leonard) (Live) – 4:05 [Japan only bonus track

 

All tracks composed by Bryan Ferry, except where noted.

 

Personnel

 

Technical

  • Johnson Somerset – assistant producer
  • Sven Taits – engineer
  • Richard T. Norris – additional engineer
  • Bob Clearmountain – mixing
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Bryan Ferry, Nick de Ville – art direction
  • James Ward – painting
  • Steven Cassidy – photography

 

Notes
Released: 5 September 1994
Recorded: 1988–1994, Utopia, Olympic & Master Rock Studios, London, England
Genre: Sophisti-pop
Length: 56:43

Label – Virgin Records

23
Sep

Emmylou Harris – Spyboy (1998)

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Spyboy is a 1998 live album by Emmylou Harris and her backing band, Spyboy, which she formed for a tour to perform songs from her 1995 career-redefining album, Wrecking Ball. Taking a stripped-down approach, Harris is backed by a trio comprising country singer-songwriter Buddy Miller on guitar and New Orleans musicians Daryl Johnson on bass and Brady Blade on drums.
Along with songs from Wrecking Ball, such as “Where Will I Be” and “Deeper Well”, Harris performs other songs from earlier in her career, such as “Born to Run” from Cimarron, “Love Hurts“, which she first performed with Gram Parsons, “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” from Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town and her ode to Parsons, “Boulder to Birmingham”, from her 1975 debut album, Pieces of the Sky.
This live project, which includes the talents of the always great Buddy Miller, is an interesting reflection of an American icon.
Eclectic, it is reflective of Emmylou Harris‘ excursions into areas of music beyond the country and rock spheres she has already conquered. But it is the country arena that best showcases her ever-flowering ability with a song. “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” and “Love Hurts” stand out boldly. “Tulsa Queen,” a co-write with Rodney Crowell, is an amazing display of her vocal prowess, as is the a cappella “Calling My Children Home.” “Boulder to Birmingham” is equally effective in its power and intensity, while Jesse Winchester‘s “My Songbird” seems to be custom-made for Harris. She delivers in triplicate on the traditional “Green Pastures.” Still, even after all these years, there is a transcendent emotional depth and connection when Harris performs “Wheels,” a song written by Chris Hillman and Harris‘ early mentor, Gram Parsons.
Her relationship with Parsons is well documented, but it is best evidenced by her performances of the work he left behind, as this performance of “Wheels” proves. An original, she continues to conjure up interesting and diverse vocals, while giving her talented bandmembers the go-ahead to show off their skills as well. This live project is awe-inspiring, much like Emmylou Harris herself.

 

Track listing

1. “My Songbird”  (Jesse Winchester) – 3:30
2. “Where Will I Be”  (Daniel Lanois) – 4:21
3. “I Ain’t Living Long Like This”  (Rodney Crowell) – 4:20
4. “Love Hurts”  (Boudleaux Bryant) – 2:55
5. “Green Pastures”  (Traditional) – 3:05
6. “Deeper Well”  (Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, David Olney) – 7:16
7. “Prayer in Open D”  (Emmylou Harris) – 4:01
8. “Calling My Children Home”  (Doyle Lawson, Charles Waller, Robert Yates) – 3:02
9. “Tulsa Queen”  (Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris) – 4:30
10. “Wheels”  (Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons) – 3:04
11. “Born to Run”  (Paul Kennerley) – 4:44
12. “Boulder to Birmingham”  (Bill Danoff, Emmylou Harris) – 3:21
13. “All My Tears (Be Washed Away)”  (Julie Miller) – 5:06
14. “The Maker”  (Daniel Lanois) – 8:40

 

Personnel

Spyboy

 

Companies, etc.

 

Additional Personnel

  • Julie Miller – backing vocals on “All My Tears (Be Washed Away)”

 

Notes
Released: August 11, 1998
Genre: Country, rock
Length: 61:55

Label – Eminent Records

22
Sep

Life Of Agony – Soul Searching Sun (1997)

posted by record facts

Life of Agony is an American alternative metal band from Brooklyn, New York that was formed in 1989 by singer Mina Caputo, bassist Alan Robert and guitarist Joey Z.

Soul Searching Sun is the third album released by Life of Agony in 1997 through Roadrunner Records.
In the early ’90s, Life of Agony was a straight-ahead hardcore metal band. They built up a loyal following by incessant touring and word of mouth, with little MTV or radio airplay. On their second album, 1995’s Ugly, the band chose a different musical path — they tried melding their hardcore with the melodic alterna-metal of Stone Temple Pilots and Alice In Chains.
The album wasn’t given a warm reception from longtime fans or the record-buying public. The group was now faced with a new dilemma; should they stay true to their newly decided musical direction, or conform to their fans’ expectations of what Life of Agony’s music should sound like? The group chose to stick to their guns and do what their hearts told them to on Soul Searching Sun. It’s a mixed affair with some tracks succeeding (such as the opener “Hope”), while others fall flat (the clean guitar-driven ballad “My Mind is Dangerous” and the drug addict-cliché “Heroin Dreams”).
New drummer Dan Richardson (ex-Pro-Pain) fits the band perfectly, able to handle their musical schizophrenia with no problem. Soul Searching Sun will certainly not be the album that wins back the group’s old hardcore fans, but that wasn’t Life of Agony’s musical goal in the first place.

 

Track listing

1.  “Hope”   (Alan Robert) – 4:03
2.  “Weeds”   (Robert) – 4:08
3.  “Gently Sentimental”   (Robert, Keith Caputo) – 3:20
4.  “Tangerine”   (Robert, Caputo) – 4:09
5.  “My Mind is Dangerous”   (Caputo) – 4:07
6.  “Neg”   (Caputo) – 3:47
7.  “Lead You Astray”   (Robert) – 3:59
8.  “Heroin Dreams”   (Caputo) – 5:45
9.  “None”   (Robert, Caputo) – 3:44
10.  “Angry Tree”   (Caputo) – 3:59
11.  “Hemophiliac In Me”   (Caputo) – 3:37
12.  “Desire”   (Robert) – 3:12
13.  “Whispers”   (Robert) – 5:15

European digipak edition bonus tracks
14.  “River Runs Red (Re-Zamped)”   (Robert) – 3:28
15.  “Let’s Pretend (Trippin’)”   (Caputo) – 4:39
16.  “Tangerine (Re-Zep)”   (Led Zeppelin cover, written by Jimmy Page) – 3:28

 

Life of Agony
Additional musicians
Technical Personnel

 

Notes
Released:  September 9, 1997
Recorded:  Studio 4 Recordings, Conshohocken, PA
Genre:  Alternative rock, alternative metal
Length:  1:04:26

Label – Roadrunner Records

21
Sep

Kerry Livgren – Seeds Of Change (1980)

posted by record facts

Kerry Allen Livgren (born September 18, 1949) is an American musician and songwriter, best known as one of the founding members and primary songwriters for the 1970s progressive rock band Kansas.

Seeds of Change is Kerry Livgren‘s first solo album. Released in 1980 while he still was a member of Kansas, it features guest appearances by three fellow Kansas members: Steve Walsh, Phil Ehart and Robby Steinhardt. Singer Ronnie James Dio and members of LeRoux, Jethro Tull, Ambrosia, and Atlanta Rhythm Section are also featured. In 1996, Seeds of Change was reissued by Renaissance Records with an interview with Livgren as a bonus track.
Kerry is able to pull off enough magic from the previous glory years, update it to the contemporary simplified prog and pop-rock sound and make it almost as accessible as the Kansas album by then.
The choice of multiple singers is effective and even the undisputed Steve Walsh appears as a vocalist. Focus on ornate keyboards and sober guitars is natural for Kerry.

The first Kerry effort as a solo artist displays very well his talent, confirming him as one of the finest songwriter and mindblowing musician in America. The listening is very fresh, as the material is so diverse and beautifully executed, from the magniloquent extravaganzas of “Mask of the great deceiver” and “Ground zero” to the funk soul of “Down to the core” to the earthy delta blues of “Whiskey seed”. His astonishing mastery of pop/art rock formalities is perfectly disclosed in the engaging “How can you live”. The controversial guest appearance of Ronnie James Dio steals the show.
The first track resembles Kansas sound significantly. “Mask of the great deceiver” has a very simplified rhythm section; Kerry listened to Tony Banks 76-78 before writing this track, indeed. The instrumental parts sound better to me than the dramatic vocal ones, albeit with a good voice.
“Whiskey seed” is a return to Kansas’s roots, a slowlier and bluesy track worth listening to.
The following two tracks don’t belong to the strong ones, in my opinion, they are very accessible and flowing but boring to some degree, since not much happens.
The finale comes with “Ground zero” – the epic suite could enrich any Kansas album, too. Analog synths, piano, ARP are on display here but the male and female vocalists don’t stay behind.

 

Track listing

1. “Just One Way” – 5:45
2. “Mask of the Great Deceiver” – 7:34
3. “How Can You Live” – 4:12
4. “Whiskey Seed” – 5:33
5. “To Live for the King” – 6:11
6. “Down to the Core” – 5:18
7. “Ground Zero” – 8:33

All songs written by Kerry Livgren

 

Personnel

“Just One Way” (track 1);
Drums – Barriemore Barlow
Bass – Paul Goddard
Trumpets and percussion – Bobby Campo
Lead vocals – Jeff Pollard
Background vocals – Jeff Pollard, Mylon LeFevre, John Fristoe
guitars, piano, synthesizers – Kerry Livgren
“Mask of the Great Deceiver” (track 2);
Drums – Barriemore Barlow
Bass – Paul Goddard
vocals – Ronnie James Dio
Guitars, synthesizers – Kerry Livgren
“How Can You Live?” (track 3);
Drums – Barriemore Barlow
Tambourine – Bobby Campo
Background vocals – John Fristoe, Joey Jelf, Mylon LeFevre
Lead vocals – Steve Walsh
Bass, guitars, piano, organ, synthesizers – Kerry Livgren
“Whiskey Seed” (track 4);
Drums – Phil Ehart
Bass – Paul Goddard
Vocals – Kerry Livgren, Mylon LeFevre
Harmonica – Darryl Kutz
Background vocals – “The Moaning Multitudes”
Guitars, mongo drums – Kerry Livgren
“To Live For the King” (track 5);
Drums – John Thompson
Bass – Gary Gilbert
Lead vocals – Ronnie James Dio
Background vocals – Joey Jelf, Steve Walsh, Donna Williams
Guitars – Kerry Livgren
“Down to the Core” (track 6);
Drums – Barriemore Barlow
Lead vocals – Davy Moire
Background vocals – Victoria Livgren
Horns – Bobby Campo
Bass, guitars, clavinet, Fender RhodesKerry Livgren
“Ground Zero” (track 7);
Drums – Phil Ehart
Lead vocals – David Pack
Background vocals – Donna Williams, Brad Aaron, Mylon LeFevre, Davy Moire, Steve Venezia
Violins – Robby Steinhardt
Gong – John Thompson
Piano, guitars, synthesizers, percussion – Kerry Livgren

 

Credits

 

Notes
Released:  July 1980
Recorded:  February – March 1980 Studio Axis Studios, Atlanta, Georgia
Genre:  Progressive rock, Christian rock
Length:  42:26

Label – Kirshner/CBS Records

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