Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Nick Heyward & India Dupre - The Mermaid And The Lighthouse Keeper (2006)

Faithful readers of this blog know I'm a big fan of Nick's work and have been since I happened across Pelican West in 1982 and North Of A Miracle the following year. So I ordered this self-released CD from Nick's website - it was available for a time on iTunes, but I don't see it there today (it's downloadable/streamable* at Amazon, however). And now that I look, I don't see it available on Nick's website, either. Can't even find any online reviews of the album, for that matter, so maybe I'm breaking ground here, eleven years after the fact.

This is a collaborative effort with India Dupre who promotes herself as an actress so don't ask me how these two got together. And because of the lack of credits in the liner notes, don't ask me how much she had to do with the writing and production of the album. Her thin vocals are present on all songs is the most I can tell you.

I don't know if it's because of the collaboration, but this isn't Nick's best effort. The laid back love songs aren't bad, but they all sound the same after a while and none of them stand out in ways a Heyward song should. It probably goes without saying, but I would like to hear a solo Heyward version. Even having written all that, I like the album good enough and the CD gets played around here a few times a year. 

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Not released in US

Tracks: The better tracks are Indian Summer, Secret Garden, 14 Summers, and Talk To Me. I usually skip track 10, Santorini, which bears no resemblance to a Heyward tune.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None, but Nick signed my CD booklet before mailing it to me and I like that.

*are these even real words?

Previously revisited for the blog:
Live At The IndigO2 28th Jan 2011 (2011)
The Apple Bed (1998)
Stars In Her Eyes (1998)
Today (1997)
The Man You Used To Be (1997)
A Hard Days Nick (1996)
The Greatest Hits of Nick Heyward & Haircut 100 (1996)
The World (1995)
Tangled (1995)
From Monday To Sunday (1993)
He Doesn't Love You Like I Do (1993)
Kite (1993)
The Best of Nick Heyward & Haircut 100 (1989)
I Love You Avenue (1988)
You're My World (1988)
Postcards From Home (1986)
North of a Miracle (1983)
Pelican West (1982) and Deluxe Edition (2016)

Who is Lawrence Watts?? -ed.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic (1974)

My least favorite Steely Dan album. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad; this CD just doesn't get much playing time around here. It would have made a fantastic EP if you got rid of the fluff (read: stuff I don't dig as much). In any case, the whole album barely clocks in at a paltry 34 minutes so it's not needed, but here's my EP suggestion:
Side 1:
Rikki Don't Lose That Number (single edit) - 3:58
Barrytown - 3:17
Monkey in Your Soul - 2:31

Side 2:
Any Major Dude Will Tell You - 3:05
Pretzel Logic - 4:28
Through With Buzz - 1:30

You can't really tell by reading the above, but I actually like most of the thing - just not as much as Christgau, ErlewineRolling Stone, et al.  And, hey, if they had to go through this to get to the greatness of Katy Lied, I'm all for it.

Billboard, March 23, 1974, p. 64
Cash Box, March 23, 1974, p. 32

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #8

Tracks: see above

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None

Previously revisited for the blog:
Everything Must Go (2003)
Two Against Nature (2000)
Alive In America (1995)
A Decade of Steely Dan (1985)
Gaucho (1980)
Aja (1977)
Katy Lied (1975)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Perrí - Celebrate! (1986)

The debut album from a vocal group made up of four sisters that were still finding their niche. Jazz, gospel, R&B? Let's try a bit of everything then.

Billboard, January 25, 1986, p. 66
Cash Box, January 25, 1986, p. 14

Despite being described as a mentor, there's not much Metheny support on this offering although two of his compositions are among the 8 tracks. I also found an unconfirmed report of the group supporting Anita Baker while she was on tour for the epic Rapture album.

Overall, a slightly better than average attempt; the group just lacked focus and the producer was unable to bring that to the party. It's a fun trip back to '86 because the sound is unmistakably of the time (see track 5, You Take Me To Heaven).

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart
Peak on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart: #14
Peak on Cash Box's Top 40 Jazz Album chart: #8

Tracks: The better tracks are Maybe Tomorrow, He Never Sleeps, and the Metheny covers (Jaco Two and Airstream Two). The only true misstep is the original Alone; the rest is harmless, forgettable R&B in which the material doesn't live up to the sisters' talents.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None, but for the true CD geek, the jewel case for this CD is one of those original old cases with "Patent pending" on the lower right corner of the back of the case.

In the CDP Archives, Perrí is currently filed between Michael Penn and Pet Shop Boys.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming (2011)

At the risk of losing my "retro-soul aficionado" credentials, I'm going to state that this album is like most Daptone releases I've heard: masterful performances of mediocre, monotonous, mostly mid-tempo, minor-keyed material.  Bradley's voice is powerfully weathered and emotional while the Menahan Street band knows how to play this Southernesque soul music period-appropriately.  But, for the most part, this just doesn't get me going. Yes, I realize I'm in the minority; it's where we contrarians reside.

Is "it's not the musicians, it's the material" the musical equivalent of a "it's not you, it's me" break-up?

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks: The better tunes are the title track, Since Our Last Goodbye, and the all-too-brief Trouble In the Land.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None

Monday, May 1, 2017

R.E.M. - Murmur (1983)

I didn't purchase this album when released, but my friend Jim did. He played it for me and I immediately took his album home to dub it to a cassette (I can still picture the BASF C-90 in my head but I have no idea what I put on the flip side of that tape). I had never heard anything like it and it would be a while until I did. The jangly guitars, mumbled vocals (see below), and unpolished garage band production were different enough in 1983 and while there's nothing special about the chord progressions, the writing is good throughout. Sounds as good to me now as it did in '83. Which bassist Mike Mills claims was the point:
Of course, it's easy to make such a claim 34 years after the fact, but that doesn't change the fact that this album is indeed timeless, classic, and influential.  And while I shouldn't let such things bother me, why do people constantly talk about deciphering the lyrics on this album? Hell, I read the 33⅓ book about the album and not only was most of the book about the mumbled lyrics, the final 16 pages are the author's personal transcription of said lyrics. What a waste. I can't recommend the book to you.

So here's my thoughts on the lyrics of this album: I don't care what they are. My theory is that Stipe wasn't particularly proud of his lyrics so he mumbled them to intentionally make them indecipherable.  And I'm sure he is amused at all the attention people pay to them.

Robert Christgau knew what he was talking about (although I'll admit he had 'em figured out long before I did):

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #36
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #37

Tracks: The best track is now and has always been Radio Free Europe, but dig most of the album including Pilgrimage, Moral Kiosk, Catapult, and We Walk. I'll confess to regularly ending the album after 11 songs and not listening to West Of The Fields.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I remember listening to Murmur in the Markmobile in high school and getting the second track, Pilgrimage, stuck in my head and singing that throughout the school day. I got in trouble for singing in more than one class that day.

With its kudzu-covered photo, Murmur has one of my favorite album covers of all time. Not that it is an especially attractive image, but it perfectly captures the mood of the music.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Eponymous (1988)
Lifes Rich Pageant (1986)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Boz Scaggs - Other Roads (1988)

Note: the CD I listened to was not the 2016 remaster with bonus tracks.

Other roads, yes, but Boz shoulda warned us about how many different roads he was taking. There's plenty of odd production choices and weak material in this comeback attempt and the efforts to update Boz's sound with an edge fall flat. To call this a mixed bag is putting it mildly, but the high points are great. Other than those few tracks, however, this is a fairly generic product of its time, recognizable as a Boz Scaggs release only by his distinctive voice. Other than that, it could be Chicago 18½.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #47

Tracks: The highlights are Heart Of Mine (#35 pop, #3 AC), Cool Running, and The Night Of Van Gogh. The rest is easily forgotten.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None

Previously revisited for the blog:
Silk Degrees (1976)