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Music Reviews

Popular Music CDs - Part 24 - October, 1999

Graham Vine

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Ratings:
Extraordinary
Good
Acceptable
Mediocre
Poor

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"Winter Blues"

Edgar Winter

Pyramid Records; CD000041

Performance: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)
Audio: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)

I decided to renew my acquaintance with 'The Blues' after a gap of many years. I had always appreciated the skills and talents of both the original US blues artists and the more recent performers taking up the genre as the chosen tool of expression for their art. Such is the case with the Edgar Winter band's new CD "Winter Blues". I would certainly recommend anyone who favors these two branches of the blues to give "Winter Blues" a personal audition or even make a speculative purchase.

My reaction after a few listens was a certain similarity in style with Jules Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra - check out his album "Lift The Lid" for more along those lines. But back to Edgar's album, and it is very easy to dip in and out of the tracks on offer. Equally at home as part of a serious listening session or as the background to an evening at home with good company, the CD works on many levels. With such legendary musicians as Leon Russell and Dr John, you can be sure of new discoveries at each listening.

In some ways "Winter Blues" is more 'funky' than I would normally go for. Just a case of doing it, and doing it well, I guess. Much more to my normal taste would be the gorgeous chord sequences adopted - it's almost a 'Gospel' style.

Edgar and the gang have put together a fine selection on this album, and I hope it re-awakens interest in this music style which has, in all reality, never really gone away.   

For reference, complete track listing:

1. Good Ol' Shoe

2. Nu'Orlins

3. Texas

4. New Millennium

5. On The Tip Of My Tongue

6. White Man's Blues

7. They Only Came Out At Night

8. It's Only Money

9. Show Your Love

10. You Are My Song

- GV -

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"One From the Modern"

Ocean Colour Scene

Island; CID 8090

Performance: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)
Audio: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and much the same must apply to album reviews - ears, ye know. For as I was about to begin these words, I caught sight of another review of "One From The Modern", and where I give the album 9 out of ten, that other critic gave 2! How can this be? The vocals are excellent - something of the character of George Harrison's voice at his most plaintive. The songs are interesting - varied topics, not just 'boy meets girl' etc etc. The production is varied - plenty of dynamics and use of texture. No, that other 'critic' is just plain wrong!

I am pleased to report that one of the best songs from the album, "Profit In Peace" has been lifted as a single. It's a song that builds from a simple single vocal plus guitar into quite an intricate production with supporting harmonies and additional instrumentation. Even so, the essentially simple melody is clear the whole time, making the point of the song even more directly.

Instrumentally, there are no virtuoso performances, though there are some interesting sections played on church organ, harmonium, and sitar. But we don't buy these albums just to hear a few individuals showing-off with their break-neck speed fingering on their guitars. We want to hear a well-blended group, sounding like a team producing a coherent work that is pleasurable, evocative, and thoughtful. We enjoy wanting to play it again. That's what I've been telling my friends about this new Ocean Colour Scene release.

For reference, complete track listing:

1. Profit In Peace

2. So Low

3. I Am The News

4. No One At All

5. Families

6. Step By Step

7. July

8. Jane She Got Excavated

9. Emily Chambers

10. Soul Driver

11. The Waves

12. I Won't Get Grazed

- GV -

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"Killing Time"

Tina Cousins

Jive; 051-9342

Performance: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)
Audio: Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)Star (605 bytes)

Following a string of Top 40 hits in the singles chart, Tina Cousins has taken the natural step of releasing an album of her particular brand of Euro-Pop. Euro-Pop? Well that term really does not do justice to Tina and her songs. Her voice is very similar to that of Madonna, and most of the tracks on the "Killing Time" album have a certain urgency that grabs and holds the attention. Many pundits will be surprised and be forced to sit up and take notice of Tina. 

The faster songs on the album are the ones that work best - in fact the first half of the album has the best content with track 8, "Turn Back Time" marking the end of the best tracks with its incessant annoying 45-style fake vinyl crackles. But before that there is enough material to keep hundreds on the dance-floor for the duration. Those last four tracks are only saved by a slight uplift from the final track, "Mysterious Times".

There is not too much to say about the musicality or lyrical content of the album. There are definitely some interesting moments though, and the use of the choral intro and outro on "Pray" is a master-stroke. If you haven't yet heard the track, imagine Delibes' "Flower Duet" from "Lakme" neatly segueing into a cool dance rhythm and that's about it!

My one reservation is over those latter tracks on the album, and I worry that what Tina has been so successful at will be sacrificed for a lurch in direction towards an R 'n' B style or even all-out drum 'n' bass. But for now, there is a lot to enjoy on the current album - let's hope she keeps going with her best for the near future.

For reference, complete track listing:

1. Killin' Time

2. Pray

3. Angel

4. Live & Breathe

5. Forever

6. Breathless

7. Nothing To Fear

8. Turn Back Time

9. The Fool Is Me

10. Until The Day

11. Mysterious Times

 - GV -



Copyright 1999 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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