Archive for 70’s

Wire / Red Barked Tree

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 120000001-04:00 12 by marky7235

Red Barked Tree

Wire are an English rock band, formed in London in October 1976[1] by Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), and Robert Gotobed (drums). They were originally associated with the punk rock scene, appearing on the Live at the Roxy WC2 album – a key early document of the scene, and was later central to the development of post-punk.

Inspired by the burgeoning UK punk scene, Wire are often cited as one of the more important rock groups of the 1970s and 1980s. Critic Stewart Mason writes, “Over their brilliant first three albums, Wire expanded the sonic boundaries of not just punk, but rock music in general.”[2]

Wire are arguably a definitive art punk or post-punk ensemble, mostly due to their richly detailed and atmospheric sound, often obscure lyrical themes and, to a lesser extent, their Situationist political stance. The group exhibited a steady development from an early raucous punk style (1977’s Pink Flag) to a more complex, structured sound involving increased use of guitar effects and synthesizers (1978’s Chairs Missing and 1979’s 154). The band gained a reputation for experimenting with song arrangements throughout its career.\

The Analysis:

Please Take—-What a wonderfully landscaped sound to introduce this first new release almost 5 years. The vocal remains the same…delivered with a slight British feel..the music is lazy and relaxed…allowing you body to easily fall into the groove of the band. there is an urgency in the underlying sound of the song. but the percussion that runs over top puts you in a slow and easy groove. This is fantastic!

Now Was—-Bass heavy at the onset…delivering a percussive sound that takes you back to 87, this is alive and electric…all the while delivering a nice updated feel that is still relevant today. The drums are huge on this track, the bass guitar enters and the percussion becomes the key to the song. The heavily over layed vocal has a slight post-punk attitude……this is brilliant…current and ancient as hell!!!

Adapt—-WOW!!! This is stellar…reminding me of the ’87 era There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, this has a nice updated psychedelic feel that makes you think of the Roses meeting The Smiths in a dark make-out corner. This is so layered and delivered in such a morose way…you each for your darkest make-up…this is sublime yet obvious…..making  me smile even more!!!

Two Minutes—-Much more musically aggressive, this is freakin’ brilliant. The band delivers a reminder of the great post-punk bands that emerged at the end of the 70’s decade and still manage to survive today. this is freakin’ stellar…….I could never ask for more energy, more noise and a better distortion than this!!!!

Clay—-This is so brilliantly Bristish….the throw-back sound of the early 90’s is all over this song and you are able to wear it very well. I could never ask for more from a 40 yr. Old band…..leaving me with a huge smile on my face and a magnificent smile on my face…which is hard to do in this day and age! This is a Beatle classic that the Beatles never wrote, a Roses classic that they never recorded…..a sublime example of why the Brits are so damn important!!!!

Bad Worn Thing—-This just seems to pick up from where the last track left off in the development of the Brit scene…there was a lazy point, a mellow point and a lacksadical point where the pleasure of British music fell from the landscape but never proved to be less than important…thius is a clear example…this is a brilliant Lou Reed song that was written 30 years after the demise of the Velvet Underground…I am so happy right now!!!!

Moreover—-filled with the typical and morose feedback that you would expect, this is a post-punk song that lives up to the moniker that follows it. The vocal is almost entirely filled with distortion, giving it a throwback sound that is inescapable. The short musical blast even speak more to the era of the minute short songs that formed the beginning of the punk movement…this is alive, electric, a bit distorted and damn nice!!!

A Flat Ten—This is full of that pre-Punk mop feel that made the way for the more aggressive sound of the 70’s. This is damn near brilliant…the sharp guitar chords are magnificent…..the vocals are a huge chorus of feel good sounds…the harmonies are almost irresistible. This is fabulous…I am left trying to catch my breath before the song quickly becomes…….

Smash—-Delivered from the onset with a guitar urgency that reminds you both of the early days while still remaining relevant, Wire proves with just this single song that they are still relevant!!! This is magnificent…full of feedback generated guitars and a progressive bass line, this only feeds into the myth that the Brits make far better music than we do…well, perhaps they do!!!!

Down To This—-At once, you delve into the jangly guitar that introduces  the song…this is spectacular. the song has a huge morose feel to it that makes you think of all the early leanings of so many bands…The Smiths, Echo, Joy Division, the Furs……but this band is still at it and doing it better than any of the afore-mentioned groups. This is dark and magnificent…..brillioant and bright!!!

Red Barked Trees—-This is another of those songs that manages to conjure up the psychedelic past with the alarming realist vision of the present. Somehow, this band has managed to produce music that is both relevant and reminiscent,….this shocks me and pleases me to no end…this entire record leaves me feeling so happy and nostalgic…exactly what music is all about!!!

**** 1/2 out of 5

Gary Numan / Archive

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 300000011-04:00 12 by marky7235


Gary Numan (born Gary Webb on 8 March 1958) is an English singer, composer, and musician, most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (with Tubeway Army) and “Cars“. His signature sound consisted of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals.

Commercially unsuccessful for many years of his career, Numan is nevertheless considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music.[1][2] His use of themes from science fiction, and his combination of aggressive punk energy with electronics, have since been widely imitated.

The Analysis:

Are ‘friends’ Electric [Live]—-Still one of the crowning moments of Numan’s career and best experienced live, this song , recorded in 1978 still manages to sound fresh and invigorating to me. Even now, with the much heavier Industrial delivery that Numan gives the song, it still leaves you with a cold and detached feeling that speaks to those who are disenfranchised and lost….this track never gets old, never sounds dated and never makes me think of old days..because it magically remains relevant. For me, this song has always spoke of the fragility and passing of human friendships…the availability of people to take that ‘best friend’ status and Numan’s idea that you have friends that are available just when you need them…you only need to plug them in to get what you need from them when you need it from them…just my impression.

Me! I Disconnect From You [Live]—-Continuing his tales of alienation and Sci-Fi ideals, Numan gently reminds us how nice it would be to end a relationship by simply disconnecting from another and moving on….perhaps that is a bit romantic!!! This is stale, sordid and delivered in a classic Numan monotone that allows you to feel cold and unconnected. Masterful!!!

U Got The Look [Live]—-Numan attempts to bring the ‘funk’ in this cover of the Prince/Sheila E. cover….to me, this is abysmal and is one of those rare missteps the man has made in his career. But, I try to accept the good with the bad.

Berserker—-One of those songs that Numan released when he was experimenting with a mass of background female vocalists…it was never heard by anyone except for me…I love this because it has an exceptional energy… while Numan seems to take a back seat and delivers a vocal that is as cold as a deep January night. This is remarkable…the emotion that runs through the music is undeniable…all the while Numan seems to be standing two rooms away and delivering his vocal…this is magical!

The God Film—-With a much deeper and plodding bass sound to the song, there is still an air of the jazz experimentation that Numan went through in the early 90’s. Although this was not a favorite ‘period’ of mine, the curators of this collection was careful with the song selection on this release….issuing tracks that were more accessible than most for the fans. For me, the highpoint of this song is only when Numan reaches high into that register of his…this delivers an emotional component that is undeniable.

We Are Glass [Live]—-Yes, this is a classic…Yes, this is a song that reeks and almost screams of human frailty and emotions. but I really have never cared for this song…I’m not sure why….there is just not much genuity and/or melody involved….sorry….

Poison—-This is remarkable….delivering a slight Depeche Mode Industrial sound with the laden female vocal in the backdrop, Numan delivers a vocal that is very much in the front of the mix and very accented. I love the cold and detached feel…I hate all of the added extra vocals..they were never needed. This is nice, but so many other things could have been included in its place.

Creatures—-Wow, this is so full of magical atmosphere at the onset of the song, but it losses almost all of the genuity once the bass falls away. The track has a remarkable chorus though…this is a song that can magically pop in my head based on my stress level or a certain feeling that I get at any point in any given day. This has a melody that is undeniable…Numan delivers the coldest and most detached vocal..only the female back drop singers warm the song…perhaps I would love this even more without all of the pretense. This is a secret favorite though!

Cars [Live]—-A song that will have a life as long as human beings are alive, this was the beginning of the Numan catalyst for me, so I can’t hate too bad. I would be happy never to hear this song again…but in this live setting it has a nice renewed energy that I can live with. an undeniable piece of Pop Music history.

Call Out The Dogs [Live]—-This compilation seems to be heavy on material from the string of 5 releases that no one in the US bought except for me….I like this song quite a bit. The natural progressive bass line is natural rather than machine made…the drums are very present and the vocals..aided by female backdrop singers come together to produce a really great sound. This has real high points and remains another of those songs that pops in my head from time to time with no reason!

God Only Knows—-This has a really nice epic musical sound that really appeals to me. Numan seems even colder and more detached than ever on this track. This was back in the days when Gary would stand in front of a microphone with a spotlight and never move through the entire show…this was cold, robotic and more mechanical than you could imagine. Superb!

Down In The Park [Live]—-Another of those crowning career moments that most people in the US are oblivious to. Covered by dozens of bands since it’s release, this has been cited as an influence more than even Cars. This is a cold, calculated story that if given the chance to read the lyrics will send shivers down your spine…beore the God Complex of modern-day Numan, there was a fascination with Robots and pure Science Fiction!

We Take Mystery [To Bed]—-Although this is not listed as ‘live’. indeed it is and in the process picks up far more energy than you get on the regular recorded version. Numan manages to talk/sing his way through songs..keeping his attractive accent in full form. This is a fantastic, energetic track that causes me to sit here and smile like I never thought possible…I love this cold. detached incredibly in tune man!!!

My Shadow In Vain—-Originally recorded with his quasi-punk band The Tubeway Army, Numan still delivers this song live in his most current sets. This is energetic and in its original form damn raw and electric!!! This is another uncredited live track….but the live setting allows this song to be noisy as hell and delivered with a raw energy that reminds me of how abrasive the first record actually was….now opposed to Cars…is historic!!!

Love Isolation—-This piano based track…full of pre-ambient sounds that almost bring you to tears is incredible. Numan sounds more lost and lonely than he has ever been…seeking direction, love and a filling for the emptiness that his music transports. This is intense as hell…hard to adapt to after the energy of the previous track…but more telling than any other song on this record! When Gary sings the line “I’ll die for you….” you damn well better believe it.

Generator—-Wow….whatever….I know that I must have the orginal version of this track around somewhere, but it is obvious I did not like it then either because I sure can’t remeber this kind of disappointment. This is just sloppy filller that I’m convinced Numan recorded in order to relieve himself of contractual agreements…right before he started Numa Records. This is wasteful!!!

**** out of 5

Black Sabbath /Master Of Reality

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 300000011-04:00 12 by marky7235

Masters of Reality

Master of Reality is the third album by the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in July 1971. It is sometimes noted as the first stoner rock album[1]. Master of Reality was certified double platinum after having sold over 2 million copies.

The Analysis:

Sweet Leaf—-Ushered in by the classic cough of Osbourne and the by now familiar deep sludge from Tony, this track has a remarkable melody line and lots of references to what was then a pretty experimental drug. The deep tone of the song is incredible…it is almost impossible to hear any leads in the track at all…this is all Osbourne, bass and huge drums. A classic piece of 70’s Metal.

After Forever—-This is another of those tracks that really never got the attention that it really deserved. This has a great melody line and some of the clearest vocals Ozzy has ever managed to produce. The sludge sound is much lighter on this track and the cymbal taps provide a bit of a lighter feel, although Iommi is all over the track. The lyrics are vivid and paint what was then a pretty damn eerie picture…like only Sabbath could!

Embryo [Instrumental]—-An interesting and fairly bizarre 28 second track that leads right into….

Children Of The Grave—-Coming right out at you with a nice progressive bass line that seems to grow and grow as the song does, this is another of those classic Sabbath tracks that manages to keep my attention for the entire duration. The bass is heavy, but delivered with more momentum and a slight ‘gallop’. Osbourne manages a great vocal…the pictures he painted in the early days with his vocals and lyrics were indeed meant to shock…and they did. This is all pretty tame compared to the stuff I listen to these days, but for its time…this WAS the devil’s playground!

Orchid [Instrumental]—-Surprisingly serene and lead driven at the onset, this has a slight spanish feel to the delivery…as pretty as the Orchid itself. This only proved to show the diversity and talent of this by now legendary band.

Lord Of This World—-Ahh…a nice return to the Bastard Sludge that defined an era! This is intense, dark and classic Sabbath right from the start. Almost all of the melody of the song come directly from the bass and the light vocal of Osbourne. This is almost too catchy, if that is possible. This is a grand tale…whether delivered to the mystic evil entities that drove the band or a message to the world itself or even an ode to the increasing drug use…this is left to the listeners interpretation. Fantastic all the same!

Solitude—-Indeed the sharp and clear intro of the song reeks of Solitude and loneliness. Osbourne must have surprised the hell out of the masses with this vocal…and the flute that enters is a nice Tull impression that I had almost forgotten about up to this point. This is a wonderful track…another that shows diversity and talent from the entire band. Excellent!!!

Into The Void—-Ending this release with a track that could have very well come from the very first Sabbath release, this is deep and dark and delivered with a nice underlying intensity. The leads are much more present on this track, but the bass lines are always. This is fantastic right from the start. As the song begins to pick up speed, the lines become sharper and the drums seem to pound in your brain even heavier. Osbourne enters with a vocal that has an echo at the end of every sentence…giving the song an even more evil tone. This is fantastic…proving to the world that the Sabbath machine was still rolling on.

**** out of 5

Black Sabbath / Paranoid

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 100000011-04:00 12 by marky7235


Paranoid is the second studio album by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Released in September 1970, the album was the only one by the band to top the UK Albums Chart, and as a result is commonly identified as the band’s magnum opus. Paranoid has been certified four times platinum by the RIAA and contains some of the band’s best-known signature songs, including the title track, “Iron Man” and “War Pigs“.

The Analysis:

War Pigs—-Still perhaps one of the greatest releases of all time, this opening track finds the band very comfortable delivering an even more intense rendition of the debut release. The song writing seems to be tighter and the heavy bass delivery seems even more practised. When Osbourne enters with his clear and distinct voice, the words of blasphemy and evil just seem to pour out. The song has those magic peaks and valleys…allowing the listener to totally lose themselves in the deep barrage of sound and drums that seem to come from every little speaker hole. this is just breathtaking…even today, this was when the band really separated itself from everyone else…this WAS Black Sabbath!

Paranoid—-Delivering perhaps one of the most famous songs ever in the realm of Heavy Metal and one of the defining tracks of the entire 70’s decade, Sabbath firmly announced that they were the band to be reckoned with. They held no qualms about exploring the dark side of life, exploring the underbelly and then singing about it. This is one of those riffs that will live as long as the world manages to turn…and there will always be new generation discovering the genius that these lads brought from the seedy parts of the UK to the all of these years on, I don’t consider this classic rock, but Essential Listening!

Planet Caravan—-Beginning with that nice dark moody feel that the Sabbath machine is almost famous for at this point, Ozzy delivers a psychedelic and pot hazed vocal that allows you to fall into the groove as easily as he did. This is fantastic…the reminiscent feeling that comes over me is almost overpowering as i listen back to this slow dirge of mastery. This is deep, dark, dank and eerie…a true modern scary story set to music and left for us all to enjoy for all of eternity. Magnificent!!!

Iron Man—-Not really believing that the Sabbath machine could top Paranoid, they come blasting back with this song..on the same release none the less. This is perhaps another of those riffs that is recognizable to almost any human being that is alive on the earth today over the age of 10. This is classic, masterful, driven and still as fresh as the day it was released. No other version can top this original pressing, nor will the feeling of exhilaration ever diminish when you first hear those opening drum beats and the manipulated vocal. This is something that is as famous as Stairway To Heaven…a song for the masses that causes the masses to run for cover. freakin; ncredible…even after all of these years!!!

Electric Funeral—-Gosh, that Butler Bass is so damn addictive…it just gives me a driving urge to listen to more and more Sabbath. When you couple that deep sound with the contrast of the Osbourne vocal, the success of the band seems now to be a no-brainer. The slight demonic delivery from Ozzy falls right in step with the magic plodding sound of the band…this was a band, that for a time, was a marriage made in heaven….or hell!!!

Hand Of Doom—-The tense bass delivery at the onset of the song slowly gives way to a nice rhythm that is only increased by the demonic and driven vocal from Osbourne. The music that this band creates seems almost tailor-made for the vocal and when they come together there was little that could go wrong in these early days. Even a one-off song such as this…one that speaks of the travails of addiction seemed tailor-made for the band to deliver. This was a nice fore-shadowing track for the band as they watched one of their own fall into the wells of excess…but at this moment, it was a grand tale…one that too many people were familiar with. This is fantastic!!!

Rat Salad—-One of those few songs that actually begin with a pretty clear riff that is only bolstered by the huge drum track that accompanies it. this is bass heavy, but not as laden as many of the other songs. The beginning of this song is much more like a freestyle jam that is just allowed to happen. The drums are just incredible…adding so much to the overall sound of the song. This is fantastic…I have no complaints…except that for a Sabbath song, it is awful short.

Fairies Wear Boots—-Another of those tracks that has stood the test of time very well. again, this song is much more electric from the onset and not as buried in the Butler bass as much of this release. This was very Heavy Metal at the time of its release. Although I consider this tame to a lot of my musical quests these days, you have to love the rhythmic, blues laden sound that the band managed to produce. When you allow for the entrance of the Osbourne vocal, you are guaranteed another classic. not sure anyone expected it to have this long of a life, but it stands up and still sounds remarkable!

**** 3/4 out of 5

Black Sabbath / Black Sabbath

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 100000011-04:00 12 by marky7235

Black SabbathBlack Sabbath is the debut eponymous studio album by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Released on 13 February 1970 in the United Kingdom, and later on 1 June 1970 in the United States, the album reached number eight on the UK Albums Chart and has been recognised as one of the main albums to be credited with the development of the heavy metal genre.

The Analysis:

Black Sabbath—-Although I was only 6 years old at the time this was issued, I can only imagine the impact this kind of music must have had on the world. indeed, this was Heavy Metal…a signature brand of doom sludge that was a brand new sound for the public. Add together the deep, intense and plodding music with the crystal clear and high vocal from Osbourne, this was a whole new adventure that even the 60’s didn’t prepare people for. This, for its time. is damn remarkable…the sound is still magnificent and the entire feel of the song is steeped in an evil darkness. Just incredible! The scary and frightening imagery that Ozzy managed to produce with his lyrics are unforgettable…one of the bands that started it all!!!

The Wizard—-The intro from the harmonica was a magical and almost genius idea to me. This is a recurring sound all through the song…even as all hell manages to break loose underneath the masterful bass delivery. This shows its age a bit…carrying with it a lot of the psychedelia of the late 60’s and even reminding me at times of later Led Zepplin…I guess it is all of that Blues/Metal sound. The drums on this track are still incredible….a short song…compared to some early Sabbath, none the less, the song wears you out and leaves you gasping for breath. this has enough punch and enough lyrical imagery to keep you going for days!

Wasp/Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bassically [N.I.B.]—-Clocking in at almost 10 minutes, this is remarkably lead driven at the onset of the song…make no mistake, the bass is very prevalent in the song, but the leads shine a bit brighter. This is dirty and gritty…allowing you to really see the origins of the band…from the dirty, poor Steel Towns in the UK. Osbourne still sounds remarkable…you can really almost catch every single word that he manages to deliver. This is a huge song…moving through the assorted suites seamlessly and leaving you panting for breath when it is all finished…this is a timeless piece of history…where it really all began for the Heavy Metal movement…this WAS the Wretched Spawn!!!  When the beginning riffs for Behind The Wall Of Sleep begin, you realize where every Priest or Maiden song came from…this is freakin’ historic!

Wicked World—-With the cymbal sounds so prominent at the intro, the sound of this track is a bit clearer than anticipated…but the deep bass from Butler is not long behind…giving us a nice retro sound that almost could be a Zepplin classic. This has such a great rhythm sound…and the vocal from Osbourne is not that far removed from a Plant wail. The surprising thing about this is how damn catchy it is to me…even all of these years later. This is steeped in Blues/Rock sounds that helped to formulate the genre I so comfortably sit in these days. This stuff is stellar.

A Bit Of Finger/Sleeping Village Warning—-At an astounding almost 15 minutes in length, this is reminiscent of the jam sessions that many of the bands of the time embarked on. The opening strains of the song are so damn accessible and again I am forced to make references to the early days of Zepplin. Even today, this sounds experimental and delivered with a bit of hesitancy…when the bass kicks in, I am wrapped in a comfortable blanket that once again reminds me of how much I really loved this band. This music was not delivered as music is today…then, every instrument and contribution from members were important and key ingredients of the sound. Only when egos and drugs entered did things become fragmented…in these early days, the band depended on each other for its sound and the cohesion is unmistakable. This is superb!

Evil Woman—-For me, right from the onset, this song has a remarkably accessible sound that plays well even today…this is not a far stretch from a lot of the stuff that Ozzy has managed to deliver in his solo career. From what I understand, this is a cover song from an American band called Crow…it is damn catchy and has managed to stick to me ribs for over 30 years…this is fantastic….secretly one of my favorite tracks from this release.

****3/4 out of 5

Bee Gees / One Night Only

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 700000010-04:00 12 by marky7235

One Night Only

One Night Only is a live album and DVD by the Bee Gees. It features the group’s concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 1997 and includes many of their greatest hits.

The CD is edited, with some songs omitted, though the DVD version of the concert is complete. The album was re-issued in 1999, and included a bonus CD with the missing songs.

The Bee Gees performed songs from every decade from the 1960s to the 1990s. They also sang a tribute song to their late brother Andy Gibb, “(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away”. During this song old footage of Andy is shown, including him singing the second verse of the song. The vocals from the original recording also play during that section. Celine Dion guest-starred on the Bee Gees-penned “Immortality“. Recorded vocals by Frankie Valli are featured during “Grease“, and are also taken from the original song.

The album’s title was originally meant to reflect the band’s plan that the Las Vegas concert would be their final live performance ever. Barry Gibb’s arthritis had worsened to the point where it seemed it would be impossible for him to continue playing, but he wanted to expand the tour and so they played several more shows.

The Analysis:

Intro-You Should Be Dancin’/Alone—-As the CD opens to the sound of the crowd, you can sense the palatable level of excitement in the crowd chatter. As the opening strains of You Should Be Dancin’ begins, the entire place looses control and it transfers to CD very well. This backing band and the synth programming from Maurice is perfect…like listening to all of your favorite releases compressed into one night! When Barry enters with his vocal, it is spot on perfect…still am sure how that guy can sing like that…the song quickly becomes Alone…which allows more incredible falsetto from Barry. This is polished and damn near perfect…when the Brothers harmonize…it is sugary sweet. And when Robin takes his place at the mic, it is odd as always but so damn addictive!

Massachusetts—-Rolling out one of the earliest chart classics from The Brothers career, this is greeted by an incredible crowd response. When the opening strains of this song are introduced and Robin delivers his vocal, it is something that is pure magic. Of course the highlight is when the Brothers all harmonize together and put you in a place that you had long ago forgotten. This is pure magic!!

To Love Somebody—-Another relatively early chart smash, this band that backs the singers is so perfectly polished…it is amazing. Barry still delivers a fantastic non-falsetto that is so damn pleasant and addictive. This is incredible…put together with the harmonies and the excellent band…this is spot on perfect.

Words—-with little or no in-between song banter, the band moves from smash to smash with little hesitation. Barry delivers a classic breathy vocal…the kind that makes all of the women crazy. This is perfect…quiet when it needs to be and coming alive in a huge way when it is appropriate…this is so spot on, you would be hard pressed to prove that this was really live…only the DVD proves it as a fact. This is perfect!

Closer Than Close—-Not really familiar with this song, even as it plays I wonder where it came from…come on guys, help me out. None the less, this is brilliant…delivering the more modern sounds of the Brothers release. This is obviously later in the bands career…this is polished and perfect pop music. The melody line is as addictive as hell and the vocal harmonies are perfect!!!

Islands In The Stream—-Written by the Brothers but made famous by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton, the Brothers deliver a version that convinces me that this could have been just as big a hit for them if they had chosen to release it. The band delivers a soundtrack for the song that does have Country leanings, but this is pure pop all the way. When the Brothers harmonize together, you are elevated high enough to sit on the moon. This is fabulous!

Our Love [Don’t Throw It All Away]—-I  have in my personal collection about 700 LP’s….and about 7000 CD’s. The first purchase I ever made was when I was 14 and bought the gate-fold LP of the Brothers Greatest Hits. This was a song that was on that release and has remained a favorite of mine for 30+ years. I have a personal investment with this band…LOL!!! This is beautiful and delivered with the same mastery here as the first time I heard it…it is only escalated by the inclusion of a dedication and verse by deceased Brother Andy Gibb…this still manages to rip my heart out. Brilliant!

Night Fever/More Than A Woman—-Revisiting some of the songs that made this band a household name, the Brothers rip through this like it was never away from their lips. This is spot on perfect. The crowd goes crazy for this suite of songs and it is delivered with incredible accuracy and mastery. Just Fab!!! The Brothers warmly embrace the music that helped to stall their career….there was obviously so much more to the band than this…but this remains a part of recording history.

Lonely Days—-Another classic track that never quite got the attention that I thought it deserved. This features some remarkable harmonies and reminds you that this band started back in the very heyday of pleasant pop in the mid 60’s. This is wonderfully retro but still sounds relevant…especially when Maurice begins to really pound on the piano. This is wonderful!

New York Mining Disaster—-I believe that this was the very first chart entry for the Brothers…released around 1966….this is one the very first Greatest Hits…which I have on vinyl and was released in 1970. This is classic if only for the remarkable throw back sounds and the wonderful harmonies….just fantastic!

I Can’t See Nobody/And The Sun Will Shine/Nights On Broadway—-Compressing all of these classic songs in a three-minute suite is a bit disappointing, but the band and the Brothers manage to do a fantastic job with this quick edit. When Robin begins the song with his odd warble, the crowd nearly swoons. The movement between songs is amazing and Robin is allowed the spotlight for the most part…this is a brilliant reworking and compression of some pretty great songs…impressive.

How Can You Mend A Broken Heart—-With a nice gentle intro, the crowd, upon recognition of the song goes literally crazy. When Barry enters with his vocal on the second verse and chorus, the crowd again erupts in a mad frenzy. This is spot on…the orchestration is incredible…giving the song a huge layered feel…and when Barry delivers his classic breathy spots, the crowd just screams. This is incredible!

Heartbreaker—-Released as a single by Dionne Warwick, this is another track that could have been wonderfully and successfully recorded by the Brothers themselves. This version is well on course…sounding like the bands own song from the very beginning. this is a classic example of bands sometimes giving away their best compositions.The Brothers harmonize so well on this short version of the song…wonderful!!!

Guilty—-Originally recorded with Barbra Streisand, Barry gives a spot on rendition of this song. Delivered in an acoustic manner with the full wonder of the Brothers harmonies on display, this is a fantastic reminder of the the talent and expertise of lead Brother Barry. A wonderful moment in time.

Immortality featuring Celine Dion—-Of course, the band erupts into madness with the entrance of Dion…more important to me was the song and the delivery. Well, you would not have been disappointed…this is a masterful delivery of classic Adult Contemporary fodder. When Barry and Celine combine vocals it really is magic. I love this…yes, I admit it. This has one of the most addictive hooks I have heard in a long time.

Tragedy—-Released right after the huge success of Saturday Night Fever, this song kept up the momentum for the Brothers…again setting them on the tops of the charts and delivering one of my favorite songs from them. This song has emotional vocals…an incredible chorus and huge sounds that make your hairs on you arms stand straight up. This is a classic track…one of my favorites and delivered masterfully on this recording.

I Started A Joke—-Delving again deeper in the past and allowing Robin to again take control of the microphone. There is something so odd about his vocal but it is so different that it is fascinating. This track has huge swirls of orchestration and vocal emotions…this brings a tear to my eye and a goosebump or two…I’m so gay!!! Just fantastic!!!

Grease—-With a nice piped in vocal from Frankie Valli, the Brothers remind us that there was life besides the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack…bet you guys forgot about this song…huh? Barry delivers such an accessible vocal…he sounds as comfortable singing like a chipmunk as he does in his natural voice. This is magnificent….a wonderful end to a magical ‘evening’.

****1/2 out of 5


Roger Waters / In The Flesh-Live

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 200000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

In The Flesh - Live

George Roger Waters (born 6 September 1943) is an English rock musician, singer-songwriter and composer. He gained fame as the principal songwriter, lyricist, bass player, co-lead vocalist and one of the founding members of the rock band Pink Floyd. Following the departure of founding member Syd Barrett in March 1968, Waters became the band’s primary lyricist and conceptual leader until his own departure from the band in 1985. The group achieved success in the 1970s with the concept albums The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. Following creative differences within the group, Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985, and began a legal battle with the remaining band members regarding their continued use of the “Pink Floyd” name and material.

Waters’ solo career has included three studio albums; The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking (1984), Radio K.A.O.S. (1987), and Amused to Death (1992). In 1990 Waters staged one of the largest rock concerts in history, The Wall – Live in Berlin, on the vacant terrain between Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate, with an estimated 200,000 people in attendance. In 2005, he released Ça Ira, an opera in three acts translated from Etienne Roda-Gil and his wife Nadine Delahaye’s French libretto based on the historical subject of the early French Revolution. Waters reunited with Nick Mason, Richard Wright, and David Gilmour for what would be a final one-off performance at the 2005 Live 8 concert in London’s Hyde Park, Pink Floyd’s only appearance with Waters since their final performance of The Wall at Earls Court London 24 years earlier.

He has toured extensively as a solo act since 1999 and played The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety for his world tours of 2006–2008. In April 2010, Waters announced The Wall Live tour, which will include a complete performance of The Wall, starting in North America in September 2010 and tentatively ending in Europe in June 2011. Waters confirmed on Facebook that Gilmour will perform the Pink Floyd song, “Comfortably Numb” with him during at least one of his The Wall Live shows.

In the Flesh – Live is a two-disc live album that captures performances from Roger Waters‘ three-year In the Flesh tour. A DVD of the same title was also produced, and the two were released in a new package in 2006. An SACD featuring both stereo and 5.1 mixes was also released.

The material for the DVD was taken from a 27 June 2000 performance at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon, but the double CD contains various recordings of the entire 2000 US tour live show, drawn from performances in Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, Irvine, California, and Portland, Oregon.

The Analysis: Disc One

In The Flesh—-The first thing you notice upon playing this disc is the remarkable crowd noise…the people love this man and this spectacular he is about to give them. Opening with a classic track from The Wall, the band is spot on and you are not really sure if this is live or Memorex!!! The sound quality is incredible…the energy remarkable and the vocal damn near perfect. Accompanied by a bevy of female backdrop singers, this song is perhaps even larger than its original state. This is the man’s brainchild and he treats it as such. One of my very favorite tracks.

The Happiest Days Of Our Lives—-Another fabulous track from the Wall, the song has all kinds of back track tapes that supply the necessary sound effects and the female back drop singers give the song a choir feel as it leads into….

Another Brick In The Wall Pt. II—-This is spot on!!! Without the backdrop crowd noise, you would never realize that this was a live recording. This is as huge as the recorded version and the final delivery is well practised and rather phenomenal. The energy and the choir of voices singing the chorus give the stadium crowd a stadium sized song. This is big and over blown…exactly what you would expect from Waters.

Mother—-One of the more disturbing tracks from The Wall, this has always been a very favorite track of mine as well. This finds waters exploring the darkest recesses of his childhood and memories…the result is a pretty damn stellar song. Presented here, you would not think such a somber song would work so well is a stadium setting…but Waters pulls it off with no problem. This is a triumphant performance.

Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert/Southhampton Dock—-Not really sure of the origin of this song….this has some nice orchestration at the onset…not sure if it is real or taped, but it works really well. Waters delivers a classic vocal…making me feel warm and welcome inside. this is typical overblown theatrical Rock from one of the greatest masters. This is brilliant!! OK….this is from The Final Cut!

Pigs On The Wing Pt. I—-This brief 1 minute tracks serves as an introductory interlude into the magnificent….

Dogs—-Clocking in at almost 17 minutes, this is a huge opus that goes a bit in every direction imaginable…beginning a bit acoustic, the track finds Waters singing in a tone that at times sounds a bit uncomfortable for him. This is brilliant though…I love how the song magically opens up and allows the whole band to have a part in this huge and monumental track. This is a mini-rock opera initself…but it is worth sitting through the entire thing….just genius!

Welcome To The Machine—-One of the most well-known and loved tracks of the burgeoning machine that would become Pink Floyd, this rendition delivers all you could hope for and more. Waters and his band are spot on with the delivery, and the crowd goes literally insane with the result. Waters sounds even better than he did on the original recording….adding in the backdrop of female singers gives the song an even bigger epic feel…this is fabulous.

Wish You Were Here—-Delivering another Floyd classic in a monumental way, I can assure you that these crowds from this tour went home very happy. This is spot on…the only thing better than this is perhaps having the band back together again…not likely to ever happen. Waters does a hell of a job replicating this song in a solo setting. his band is spot on and the vocal is better than ever. This must have been quite a moment live…I would have died!!!

Shine On You Crazy Diamond—-I call this Syd’s song…..the digital effects are really great on this track…showing you just how far digital programming had come at this point and even more so today. This is wonderfully ambient and full of the kind of atmosphere you would expect. The quiet tones seem to work really well even in this live setting. Clocking in at 15 minutes, this has all of the varying mood degrees and a pretty damn great vocal as well. This is fantastic!

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun—-Taking a bit to get started, the song comes out of the darkness and envelopes you in the warm musical quality of the track. waters sounds haunted as he delivers this track…there is an air of sadness that transports to this CD really well….this is well…just magnificent!

Disc Two:

Breathe [In The Air]—-Beginning Act II with a monumental part of Floyd history, this is brilliant as well. The taped effects are incredible….the song building and building….leaving you sweating by the time the familiar guitar strains open the proper song. this is as good as any version you have ever heard…Waters knows how to hone his craft and he has done it amazingly well.

Time—-When all of the clocks begin to chime, the crowd response is as you would expect. This is a spot on rendition of the classic from Dark Side Of the Moon…..Waters again shows how well he has honed his craft as he delivers a version that differs very little from the recorded version. The most amazing thing to me is how relevant this song still is all of these years later…and when the vocal harmonies happen…well, I was just blown away.

Money—-Again, this is perhaps the biggest crowd response of the evening and also one of the funkiest guitar deliveries of the show. Waters does a good job with the vocal, but it is not quite the same for me…this falls a bit flat for me at times….but the band delivers a perfect version of the song.

Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking Pt. 1—-From Waters first solo release of the same name, this has always been a favorite song of mine…basically because Waters never gave up on what he believed in…delivering concept record after concept record even after he left Floyd. this is typical Waters…overblown and a bit more intense than you would expect…although the song has a really nice progressive sound…showing some growth from Waters…this is brilliant and still a very favorite of mine.

Perfect Sense Pt. 1-2—-Nicely peppered with all kinds of back tracking, this song is another of those pleasurable overblown tracks that only Waters is capable of. This is fairly sedate and more than a bit intense…the intro building and building while allowing the effects to play out in the backdrop. The female back drop singer gives this song so much life and body…I find myself attracted to this part of the song more than any other…this is just about perfect.

The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range—-Beginning with nice bombastic drums, this is nice to finally have real instrumentation begin a song in this set! This is brilliant…delivery some of that nice soaring guitar that Gilmour is so well-known for…but that familiar Floyd sound is all over the song as well. Waters sounds a bit tired at this point in the show, but still sounds better than any other live recording I have heard of him. This is stellar.

It’s A Miracle—-Beginning really somber and quiet, there is a nice level of ambience to this track..sometimes playing so low you can hear the crowd screaming above the gentle sounds of the show. Waters enters with his vocal…delivering a slight blues lean to the song…adding his own little vocal nuances that make him unmistakable.

Amused To Death—-Again, full of soundbites and recorded effects, the remarkable thing is the lack of noise from the crowd..perhaps they are straining to hear all of the effects to tell them what is coming next. Even when the song begins its gentle interlude, you really hear no sound at all….this is nice though. This is so somber and quiet, I’m surprised they decided to do this live, but with the backdrop of female singers, it plays fairly well.

Brain Damage/Eclipse—-The crowd responds to this with enough enthusiasm to let you know…yes they really are here. As Waters pulls out another Floyd classic, the familiar strains are enough to make you smile. The rendition is replicated amazing well…the harmonies are exquisite and the smile may not leave my face today!

Comfortably Numb—-Well, you know how the crowd was going to react to this one now didn’t you. This is the epicenter of The Wall and Waters plays it with mastery and finesse…even though no one can play this guitar solo like Gilmour. And when the refrain is sung…you really miss the vocal from David. None the less, this may be as close as you get to the real thing so…take it and run. This is still hugely emotional and intense…bringing back floods of memories to me and never letting me forget where I was the very first time I ever heard this song. Incredible.

Each Small Candle—-At the time of this release, this was a new Waters track that was tacked on the end of the CD…this is typical Waters fare…full of movements and mood, ambience and atmosphere. The backdrop singers add some nice soul to the song and the guitar has a nice blues base to it that pleases me a great deal. This song becomes very large at times then miraculously settles down to a hushed quiet just as quick…this is nice…but in my opinion, not one of his finest works.

 ****1/2 out of 5

Toto / The Essential Toto

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 100000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Essential Toto

Toto is an American rock band founded in 1977 by some of the most popular and experienced session musicians of the era. The band enjoyed great commercial success in the late 1970’s and 1980s, beginning with the band’s self-titled debut released in 1978. With the release of 1982’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful Toto IV, Toto became one of the best-selling music groups of their era. They are best known for such hit singles as “Hold the Line,” “Rosanna,” “Africa,” and “Pamela.” Although their popularity in the United States diminished in the 1990s and 2000s, they continued to sell out arenas constantly internationally, only playing minimal shows in the USA.

Toto is known for a musical style that combines elements of pop, rock, soul, funk, progressive rock, hard rock, R&B and jazz. Although they were regularly associated with the soft rock genre, Toto’s broad array of musical styles helps them appeal to a variety of listeners.

The band has released 17 albums and have sold over 30 million records to date. Their 18th album, Falling In Between Live, was released in August 2007, a live release recorded in March 2007 in Paris. At the end of the Falling In Between tour in 2008, guitarist Steve Lukather announced his departure from the band, and the remaining band members subsequently went their separate ways. Recently, Toto announced a short European tour in summer of 2010 to benefit longtime bassist Mike Porcaro, who has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The Analysis:

Hold The Line—-With the instantly recognizable piano and the wonderful vocal of Kimball, this is a true classic that allows you to know Toto no matter what your age. This played so well on ‘soft-radio’ stations, but has a remarkable guitar line that runs through the song. This is magical and produces layers upon layers of memories every time i hear this song…the band was fairly well cemented in their career by the time this came around…this only proved to make them even more popular…elevating them to a cult status.

Rosanna—-Hitting big in the 80’s when synth pop was king, this managed to score huge on the charts thanks to an undeniable sound and a great video. This is a driving song that is magically full of longing and regret. The drum track that flows through the song is wonderful and sticks in your brain…when you add in the smooth vocal, a bona fide hit was born. this is crystal clear vocally, with a nice rock base to the foundation of the song. This is a classic piece of 80’s music…reminding us that there WAS more to the decade than New Wave.

Africa—-The biggest and best known song of this band’s career, Toto IV was a bona fide smash all over the world and elevated the band to a career high…one that it had trouble replicating. This song is full of a slight tribal beat, lyrics that make your heart cringe and your emotions run wild and a video that was made to appeal to the new MTV generation…combining all of this together made this the song of the summer, winter, spring and fall. This is classic stuff!

99—-One of the singles that introduced this bunch of session players to the world in the late 70’s, this song still remains a very favorite of mine. It contains all of the elements of that time period when FM radio was just beginning to become something huge. I will never forget the summer that this song was huge…allowing me my first tastes of freedom and the realization that my home life was not like most others. So, perhaps this is a bit bittersweet for me, but indeed it is a song I hold close to me and will never forget. The track is rich in layers…full of that classic 70’s piano sound with a gentle instrumentation added to bolster the sound. The vocals are layered as well…with overlays added to beef up the sound…it all ends up as a remarkable smooth pop song that reeks of 70’s power pop! And did I mention the horns…..fantastic!

Make Believe—-Another classic piano driven track from the 80’s, this track is huge in sound. the vocal is literally fantastic…you could never ask for more melody or heartfelt lyrics. This remains magnificent…showing the diversity of sound that this band was capable of producing. The guitars are subtle, the drums are huge and the combined result is nothing less than magnificent. The vocal is unique…crystal clear and full of remarkable harmonies provided by a band effort. This is a stellar recording.

I’ll Supply The Love—-Now this track…..reeks of the 70’s!!! Reminding me of a long-lost Foreigner song or something. This is built on gang vocals on the chorus and a lead vocal that is obviously by someone else…not sure who. this is just wonderful though…making me think of Sweet or one of those other obscure 70’s one-hit wonders. None the less, this is huge fun…I love this stuff.

Georgy Porgy—-This song has never really made that much of an impression on me…finding it hard to tell if this is an 80’s recording or a 70’s recording, the sound and style fall in that nicely blurred line that makes it accessible to all generations. again, the vocal sounds different…the band seems to have had their share of different lead vocalists throughout their career. This is nice pop rock that is accentuated by a nice background female vocal….not a favorite of mine but still great enough to stand on its own.

I Won’t Hold You Back—-Well, let me tell you…if you ever have that urge to cry…put this song on and the tears will come without any problem. this is laden with a hook that spells loneliness, isolation and depression. The vocal is delivered with a heavy air that conveys the real emotion that was behind the lyric. this is one of the most intense and heartfelt songs ever released by this band and it literally tears me up every time I hear it. There are memories that go along with this…and trust me, that does not help. this is just wonderful.

I’ll Be Over You—-To me, this sounds like a Chicago song. The delivery of the vocal and the atmosphere that is supplied by the keyboards give the song a very large feel. This is wonderfully melancholic and introspective…delivered with another crystal clear vocal that allows you to catch every word as they sink into your psyche. This is magnificent!

Without Your Love—-With a nice jaunty bass line and a vocal that makes you think of Rosanna, this is a wonderful little pop song. full of lyrics that make you swallow every word and digest it…wishing you were any where but the place where you are right at this moment. The added vocals that the band adds gives the song a much more beefed up sound and when the guitar is allowed to soar you are treated to an AOR masterpiece…this band made very errors in their career.

Pamela—-Beginning rather sedate, but magically picking up wonderfully well thanks to the drum and guitar track, this turns into something you were not expecting. This is reminiscent of early 80’s Duran Duran…the jaunty musical delivery and the prominent synth line…this is wonderful fun. The chorus is this huge affair with the whole band adding vocals…really nice!

The Turning Point—-Heavy with piano and a superb bass line, this still never loses that trademark Toto  sound. The vocalist…again…sounds different and foreign, but the music dictates the song and allows you to know who this is….even though this still reminds me of Chicago. A really nice track.

 Mindfields—-Again, this begins in a jaunty way….with a nice bit of a funk feel thrown in for fun. the vocal is much more familiar and lands in my cerebellum much easier. this is a nice poppy kind of track that has some nice harmonies and a band effort on the chorus. This is great…even though it is completely unfamiliar to me.

On The Run [Live]—-Live, this band delivers a much more guitar oriented set…this song is a clear indication of that. The synth lines that pop up are gone and this again comes off like a Foreigner song. Not really a favorite of mine, but I still would give my eye teeth to see this classic line up just once.

**** out of 5

Kraftwerk / The Mix

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 50000009-04:00 12 by marky7235


Kraftwerk (German pronunciation: [ˈkʀaftvɛʁk]) is an electronic music band from Düsseldorf, Germany. The signature Kraftwerk sound combines driving, repetitive rhythms with catchy melodies, mainly following a Western classical style of harmony, with a minimalistic and strictly electronic instrumentation. The group’s simplified lyrics are at times sung through a vocoder or generated by computer-speech software. Kraftwerk were one of the first groups to popularize electronic music. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Kraftwerk’s distinctive sound was revolutionary, and has had a lasting effect across many genres of modern music.[1][2][3][4][5]

The group was formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1970, and was fronted by them until Schneider’s departure in 2008.

The Analysis:

The Robots—-Perhaps considered some of the founding fathers of the current Dance Music Revolution, when Kraftwerk emerged with their machine driven music, the entire world took notice. With a nice driving underlying bass sound and enough treble bits to give the track melody, this is nicely accented my machine manipulated vocals as well. The incredible thing is that this still sounds so fresh and current. Truly innovators, Kraftwerk inspired many of the musicians making popular music today.

Computerlove—-Swirling and full of bright treble based electronic sounds, this track also includes a nice pulsing Disco bass that gives the manipulations some nice backbone. This is fairly fast paced for a Kraftwerk track…but the most remarkable hing is the machine generated melody that ushers in the distant and cold vocal. This is magnificent…truly some of the best German exported music known to man kind.

Pocket Calculator—-Perhaps one of my favorite compositions from this group, it is laughable now to even mention Pocket Calculators…but at the time of this tracks release, Calculators were a pretty unique innovation. The simple idea that someday you could make a hand-held contraption produce songs like this were far off in the future…but today remarkably possible. This was a true glimpse into the future.

Dentaku—-Melding perfectly from the previous song, this has nice elements that are the same as Pocket Calculator. Bolstered by german vocals and an irresistible beat, this is full of little blips and beeps that still make me smile. This is wondrous…considering the time period and the abilities.

Autobahn—-Perhaps the crown jewel in this bands career, Autobahn is this huge extended track that features all kinds of effects and a remarkable melody that is almost impossible to remove from your head. The beginning of the track is the best for me…as it introduces the elements of the song…as it goes on, it is perhaps a bit too long, but this served a purpose on those real late night dance floors that needed something to keep people in their establishments. This is a defining track…this was the future…this is now the present.

Radioactivity—-Another track that really helped to elevate this band even further, this is much faster and much more bass driven. The vocals are complete machine generated German sounds that are matched perfectly by a melodic treble track that really makes up the foundation of the song. This is another true piece of history from a ground breaking and innovative band.

Trans-Europe Express—-One of the bands earliest singles and releases, I knew the first time that I heard this that this was something never before done. Combining a nice escalating synth sound that never goes anywhere and an instrumentation that is almost orchestrated…this would later become sampled by not only the Dance Community, the Disco Community but the Rap Community as well…this was a new and fresh sound that made you shake you head and wonder how the hell did they do that!!!

Abzug—-Full of a remarkable energy and a bass beat that belies the time of production, this is catchy as hell. this is just fantastic…the sound is so warm…but at the same time magically distant and cold as ice. the magnificent power of machines!!!

Metal On Metal—-Another track that lives up to the reputation of the band…producing sounds that conjure up huge machines that magically produce music that is cold and still enveloping. This is still wonderous…the main synth line that makes up the song still delivering an almost euphoric feel.

Homecomputer—-Again, magically peering into the future, no one i know of even knew that Home computers were a realistic vision…look at us now!!! This is fresh and full of treble based synth lines and a heavy German vocal that slips in and out of the song…producing a sound so cold…but remarkably human and accessible. This was a land mark track.

Music Non-Stop—-Making both vocal sounds and machine sounds that had never been realized before, this band continued its ground breaking output. This reminds me of 80’s style Herbie Hancock….this is danceable…cold and incredibly accessible. Taking bits and pieces of sound and constructing them into huge epic electronic instrumentation, this band has a never-ending place in musical history. This is just fantastic!

****1/2 out of 5

David Bowie / Station To Station [Remastered]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 30000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Station to Station

Station to Station is the tenth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released by RCA Records in 1976. Commonly regarded as one of his most significant works, Station to Station is also notable as the vehicle for Bowie’s last great ‘character’, The Thin White Duke. The album was recorded after he completed shooting Nicolas Roeg‘s The Man Who Fell to Earth, and the cover featured a still from the movie. During the sessions Bowie was heavily dependent on drugs, especially cocaine, and recalls almost nothing of the production.

Musically, Station to Station was a transitional album for Bowie, developing the funk and soul music of his previous release, Young Americans, while presenting a new direction towards synthesizers and motorik rhythms that was influenced by German electronic bands such as Kraftwerk and Neu!. This trend would culminate in some of his most acclaimed work, the so-called Berlin Trilogy, recorded with Brian Eno in 1977–79. Bowie himself has said that Station to Station was “a plea to come back to Europe for me”.[4] The album’s lyrics, meanwhile, reflected his preoccupations with Nietzsche, Aleister Crowley, mythology and religion.

With its blend of funk and Krautrock, romantic balladry and occultism, Station to Station has been described as “simultaneously one of Bowie’s most accessible albums and his most impenetrable”.[5] Featuring the single “Golden Years“, it made the Top 5 in both the UK and US charts. In 2003, the album was ranked number 323 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.`

The Analysis:

Station To Station—-Clocking in at an impressive 10 minutes, this song is both full of atmospheric music and one of the best Bowie vocals he had delivered in quite some time. Definitely embracing the whole image of The Thin White Duke, the vocal is full of suave sophistication and an underlying urgency that still plays remarkably well today. The music can be a bit erratic at times, but it is the strong vocal that saves this song. The laid back and cool vocal style was just a slight indication of the mastery that was still to come from this musical genius. Besides Scary monsters, this still remains one of my favorite releases from Bowie. And I know Bowie inside out…I proudly own 62 Bowie CD’s!!!

Golden Years—-Although this remains one of the crowning and glorious moments in bowie’s career, this song has never been a favorite of mine. Listening back to it now after such a long period of ignorance, I have a new-found appreciation, but overall this was played to much and wore out its welcome for me. None the less, the wonderful laid back suave style of singing is the jewel in the crown for me. It is hard to believe that Bowie was not cognizant of the masterpiece that he was creating…perhaps that is why it still plays so well today. This is full of a nice funk landscape and an almost electronic backdrop that would later surface in his recordings. To me this has held up well over the years…kudos to one of the innovators of what is now Alternative Music!

Word On A Wing—-With a nice electronic hum that runs through the underbelly of the song, the track is accentuated by a masterful piano and a vocal that is so laid back and lazy that it is more emotional than ever though possible. The lyrics are so tender and real…you wonder where the inspiration of this came from. The vocal is remarkable as Bowie switches between the lazy voice and the upper register that is full of emotion and lonliness…crying out for understanding and companionship. This is so masterful…I wonder why we never hear more of this type of thing from this genius of a man. This is stellar…no ifs, ands or buts about it. Fantastic.

TVC15—-Although the musical landscape of this song is rather cheerful and jaunty, the lyrics that accompany this song are intense and full of cocaine fueled paranoia. Bowie delivers his vision of the future…not so displaced or imagined. This is another crowning moment of this release…full of classic Bowie style rock music with an underlying feeling of funk and fun…but as I said…this is not a light-hearted or easy-going song…this is full of scary imagery and paranoia. Remarkable!!!

Stay—-Again, beginning with a rather jaunty and funk filled intro, the song has a nice touch of Alomar guitar. The bass line is huge and the intro leading up to the vocal takes a bit…when David enters with his voice, it is better than anything on this release. There are nice studio produced overlays that add a lot of balls to the song, but for me it is the 70’s inspired guitar work that really makes this track stand on its own. the voice is magnificent, but the bass inspired  funk is magnificent. This is a fine moment in Bowie’s career.

Wild Is The Wind—-Incredibly heartfelt and tender, this was the song for me when I first heard this recording. I discovered Bowie after the release of Let’s Dance….and then proceeded to scour record shows and stores for every single thing I could get my hands on. Not realizing at the time that this was a natural progression for me…Bowie laid the framework for so many of the artists that I hold true to my heart to this Numan and Morrissey….they are not that many worlds apart from each other. This vocal is so intense and real, it is still hard for me to believe that David was in the drug induced haze he claims to have been in. this is just masterful and real that it seems like he was really caught up in something more than a drug fueled haze. for me, this is another defining moment. Still this touches my heart and gives me goose bumps.

**** 3/4 out of 5