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Popular Music - Part 45 - December, 2002

Graham Vine


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When We Were Young - Dusted - Go Beat: 543 707-2

Rollo (out of Faithless) has made a good album under the moniker "Dusted". Enlisting the assistance of such musicians as Mark Bates, Martin McGory, and Tim Vogt, this project has seen the realization of an atmospheric and in places extremely moving set of tracks.

Let me get one thing straight right from the start, though. Atmospheric does not imply a swirling, muddy mish-mash of uncoordinated sound. "When We Were Young" has an audio that is crystal-clear and very easy to identify positioning in the stereo soundstage. The melodic themes have a direction and purpose which, in the main, carries the listener through the whole CD. I enjoyed most of the variety and the concept, which is well covered in the track listing below.

Track One, 'Childhood' sets the scene perfectly. A sequence of lush chord-changes is accompanied in places by a certain 'groove' and some sound effects which are reminiscent (rather than explicit quotes) of 'Childhood', including what sounds like some admonishing remarks from the parent-figure. At least, that's my interpretation. I liked the Lou Reed / Leonard Cohen type of vocal treatment in 'Time Takes Time', too, with its gospel chorus for added texture and contrast.

All is not sweetness and light with the album, though. I felt that track 7 was probably the worst and deserved better than the (to me) poor female vocals. These sound just like one of the current supply of manufactured 'divas', trying to sound 'soulful' but missing the point of real feeling and expression. It's a shame because the Debussey style piano break in the track is really something special. And probably the worst aspect of the whole album is the transition from track 7 to track 8. Why start # 8 with the beat that had already become quite annoying by the end of track 7? Still, it gets better after about 3 minutes when it goes bluesy and moody. Then guess what? Track 9 and it's that beat again! Aaggrr! This could really get annoying!

Let's end on an upbeat though, if you'll excuse the pun. There are quotes in track 6 that sound as if they are spoken by Jean-Luc Picard. Did respecting one's Mother play a large part in TNG (?). Nicely done, anyway. And the ironic pseudo-quotes from a mock-Oscar ceremony, thanking every person or thing that has had an effect upon the recipient, in track 11, made me smile. So that's how I'd like to remember this CD: some amusement, some poignancy, and some very good music-making.

For reference, complete track listing:

1. Childhood
2. Time takes time
3. Want u
4. Hurt u
5. If you go down to the woods
6. Always remember to respect your Mother part 1
7. The biggest fool in the World
8. Oh, how sweet
9. Always remember to respect your Mother part 2
10. Winter
11. The Oscar song
12. Under the Sun
13. If I had a child

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The 13th Apostle - The Rev. Vince Anderson and his Love Choir - Dirty Gospel: 43157 07992

Is the mixture of spiritual and secular as practiced by The Rev Vince an 'unholy alliance'? I've said it before and I'll repeat it here - most certainly not! His music is strong enough to find a very welcome place on both sides of the 'divide'. Knowing this from my previous encounter with Vince (Popular Music Reviews - Part 41), I was delighted when "The 13th Apostle" dropped on my mat. Even more so when I'd pressed 'play' on the CD deck. This album is outstanding. Vince does full justice to his gravelly, Jim Morrison type of voice. There is a variety of styles, and some tempo changes in the songs, too. Altogether a very rewarding package.

As an opening cut, 'Dear Lunatics' is as manic as you'd expect. Anyone who remembers Screaming Lord Sutch's records will feel very at home immediately. Now Sutch, despite being part of the beat generation, came out of the Rock and Roll tradition, so its apt that Vince's track 2 is a solid bouncy rocker in the style of Croce's "...Leroy Brown". So, by track 3, we're ready for a slower pace, and we get it in a soulful piece that's somewhere between Otis Redding and the Stones' "Wild Horses".

We get some more tempo changes - and some of these are within a song. Take track 8 (subtitled "...but I got Jesus in my head" in the sleeve notes) which starts with some spoken gospel picked up off the radio. It continues as a pretty slow 12-bar, and this runs for 5 verses, the 3rd of which is an instrumental. During the repeats of the last line of verse 5, the tempo picks up and up until you could almost sing 'I Got The Music In Me' along with it. Very nicely done . . . and then it all slows down again. 'Hallelujah' as the reverend exclaims, almost as an introduction to track 9. Hallelujah indeed.

I think I've given enough here to give a taster of the album and to let you know how much I am enjoying it. There are no bad segments to this album (unlike the previous one), and at 46 minutes, it's more like a full album's worth. I still want more, but maybe I'll just have to be patient and wait for the next outing by Vince and his excellent band.

For reference, complete track listing:

1. Dear Lunatics
2. Train Whistle Blowin'
3. Angel, Save My Breath
4. Darling
5. Blame It On The Bottle
6. Honeywell Street Bridge
7. Sweet Redemption
8. Trying To Be An Asshole
9. The Hellelujah Side
10. New Orleans, 11 a.m.

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For Certain Because . . . - The Hollies - EMI: 7243 4 98952 2 5

When I reviewed the fantastic Hollies album "Butterfly" a while ago, I made mention of its 'sister' release "For Certain Because..." and promised myself (and you) that I would get hold of it as soon as possible. Well I didn't have to wait long, I'm delighted to say.

Like "Butterfly", this CD has the mono LP release tracks in their entirety, followed by the stereo versions of the tracks. The mono mix-down seems cruder than was the case for "Butterfly" and, in particular, has more of the instrumentation at too low a level. This spoiled the sequence for me to such an extent that I always leap ahead to # 13 for the Stereo versions.

'What's Wrong With The Way I Live' is a great opener. Those vocals ring out like a bell - something that The Hollies always seem to master. And what an innovative track # 2 is. With it's "Instant Karma" style of piano intro, I wondered if Mr. Lennon had gleaned some ideas from fellow north-westerners.

Having a slow 3/4 rhythm for verse and 4/4 for the chorus is daring but this track really pulls it off. And talking of influences, track 3 has a hint of the "Marrakesh Express" about it, and that's no fault as far as I'm concerned.

My personal favorite is probably 'High Classed' with its vaudeville style and tongue-in-cheek lyric. As for a least fave, that would have to be track 5, merely for the odd pronunciation of 'look' sounding more like 'luck'.

A subtle difference but not there for the irony, surely. Another standout, for the right reasons, is 'Peculiar Situation'. I loved the biographical story of this couple - would you call that a duography?  Ending on the hit that spent 12 weeks in the UK charts, peaking at the number 2 position, 'Stop! Stop! Stop!' is a great up-beat way to end a fine CD. Anyone who likes The Hollies at all will feel immediately at home with this CD. Whether the CD itself, with its slightly oversize case, will feel 'at home' depends on one's CD rack - it doesn't fit mine!

For reference, complete track listing:

Mono

1. What's Wrong With The Way I Live
2. Pay You Back With Interest
3. Tell Me To My Face
4. Clown
5. Suspicious Look In Your Eyes
6. It's You
7. High Classed
8. Peculiar Situation
9. What Went Wrong
10. Crusader
11. Don't Ever Think About Changing
12. Stop! Stop! Stop!

Stereo

13. What's Wrong With The Way I Live
14. Pay You Back With Interest
15. Tell Me To My Face
16. Clown
17. Suspicious Look In Your Eyes
18. It's You
19. High Classed
20. Peculiar Situation
21. What Went Wrong
22. Crusader
23. Don't Ever Think About Changing
24. Stop! Stop! Stop!

- Graham Vine -

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Copyright 2002 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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