Thursday, May 28, 2015

Walter Becker the darker half of the Dan

I have been a huge fan of Steely Dan since I can remember.  I know they are one of the bands in the late 70's that I heard on the AM radio in the parent's car.  I really dig how they mix jazz rock and pop so well.  The Dan has been accused of being over produced and slick but I don't hear it. Lyrically they are very clever and paint great pictures of many different lifestyles and parts of the world.  Once again by the time I was old enough they broke up.  Donald Fegan has had many solo albums and I have bought them all but we never heard much from Walter Becker.

Fast forward to the 90's and Steely Dan are reunited and on a tour, I have yet to catch them unfortunately.  The band releases a live album which is great and there is a track on there I have never heard but it is amazing.  The track is Book of Liars and it is off of Walter Becker's solo album. I needless to say bought the CD to give it a listen.

I am going to start with the best track off the CD which is Book of Liars.  It is dark moving and very clever with its writing.  A song about a break up and how the girl is so bad her name has a star in the Book of Liars by her name.  You can really feel the betrayal and pain the delivery.  The last verse paints the break up like a atom not able to keep its pairing and the atom is doomed to spent the rest of its half life on its own.  Just damned good.

As for the rest of the CD, if you are a Steely Dan fan you will really enjoy.  It turns out the Becker is the darker of the Dan and the sound is much more stripped down.  The other noteworthy track in Cringemaker, another unhappy in a relationship song.  I enjoyed exploring the other half of Steely Dan.

Until next time listen to the best your ears deserve it!


Monday, May 11, 2015

And where is the Batman

Two things brought on this review.  I was not going to do any more Prince CDs for awhile, but I found a CD in the box that doesn't get the respect it deserves.  The first thing brought this review calling for due respect was a movie.  Now I really love this movie and I am happy I got to get into the series, but it a very wrong and disrespectful scene.  Shaun of the Dead is a fine film but when the main characters first start fighting the Zombie horde they decided to throw anything they can find.  Some of the items they were throwing were record albums.  They ranked the albums by what to throw at the zombie and what not to throw.  The Batman soundtrack from Prince was thrown.  Haters. 
The next and actually worse thing was on my good friends Jarrod's birthday.  We love to sing karaoke  and Jarrod likes to pick the worse songs ever for us to sing.  Some songs should never be played for karaoke, Batdance is the top of the list.  We and the version of the song were horrible.

The album is great I don't care whatever people say,  I really thought the CD and the Movie where a great package together.  Prince tries to get into the characters in the movie and there are great jams, panty dropping soul ballads and even a sweet duet.  Batdance well, we will get to that song.

The first two tracks The Future and Electric Chair show the purple one really trying to look inside the mask and makeup of the Batman and Joker.  Partyman and Trust and great fun jams that I would be at home on any Prince CD.  Scandalous is an awesome getting the motor running for all of the females soul ballad.   Finally Arms of Orion a sweet duet and totally out of character for him.  I love the way his voice blends with Sheena Easton's.  Yet the cd isn't perfect, there is a track that although adventurous this track doesn't deliver.  Batdance is a stretch, I enjoy the track but I think the criticism is fair.

Is the Batman soundtrack the best CD from Prince, no but especially of late there have been much, much worse.  I think even with all the time since it has been released it still delivers and doesn't deserve the criticism it gets.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Guru a great blend gone too early

More into the cloud from my CD Collection.  In the mid 90's I was getting into Jazz.  Changing tastes and all but I have to admit sometimes it lacked the beat for me.  I found by accident Acid Jazz, they took jazz sounds and gave it a dance house beat.  This was a form of music I really dug, a branch of this style was Hip Hop and Jazz.  Guru was a giant in this style and I was really hoping it would catch on.  Unfortunately just like Jazz its not a music that is meant for the masses.

Jazzmataz Vol 1was Guru's offering in the world of Hip Hop and Jazz.  It is a wonderful blend of smooth jazz, hip hop beats and a on point rap delivery.  The introduction is a clever way of introducing the album that leads right into the track, Loungin.  The first guest star Donald Byrd on trumpet is great on the track and sets the feeling for the cd.  Transit Ride is another standout track with Branford Marsalis it is a great view of New York City through Guru's eyes.  Finally Take A Look is fun, it has a vibraphone and a rap aimed a certain Anglo rapper from the late 80.

Guru put out 3 more Jazzmataz albums, none of them really took off.  Unfortunately Guru passed away 2010. I was happy to rediscover this cd and for anyone who wants a interesting blend of styles.

Til next time listen to the best your ears deserve it.