Friday, November 09, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 75: James - Laid

Album - Laid
Artist - James
Key Players - Larry Gott - guitar, Mark Hunter -Keyboards, Tim Booth - Lead Vocals, David Baynton-Power - Drums, Saul Davies - violin and guitar, Jim Glennie - bass guitar
Produced By - Brian Eno

Release Date - October 5, 1993

What caused me to blow off the dust? Not even really sure, i think its because I was humming one of the tunes..but who knows what gets me to do 1/2 the things I do?

Overview - The fifth studio album from Manchester England band James. The album expanded the American audience with the radio single "Laid" and the band would tour extensively for the record. After this album was completed Gott left the band and there were money issues and musical clashes. The band would still manage to sneak out a few more records to moderate success before a 2001 disbanding took place.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The beautiful "Out to Get You" slowly fades up awash with acoustic guitars. Booth whispers his vocal tracks and the bass and guitar lay nice and low. By the second verse the vocals swell a bit more and by the third we have more floor toms from the drums and the band is moving as a collection. Booth has some nice high notes he hits on the lines "Is You..." It's a pretty call and response chorus and it all. One of the catchier tracks ". "Sometimes" (Lester Piggott) follows. A quick rat a tat on the drums and the acoustic guitars come ripping over the top. The chorus is a lot of fun and the bass swoops below it all but the drums and guitars never waiver. One of the more defining "James" tracks. Listen via the down load for the first time, or once more. Great stuff. A heavily chorused bass guitar brings up "Dream Thrum". This is a dark track that is evened out some with the strings, after an up tempo like the track previous it seems a bit out of place. Rumor had it that producer Brian Eno didn't care much for "One of the Three" so the band opted to record it when he had a day off. Opening with light drums and a nice even guitar, piano lead it fits well with the feel of the album to this point. A more lively "Say Something" follows. The drums get the first work out in a few tracks. The guitar has a cool reverb meets chorus sound. Booth is in fine vocal form on this track as the guitars and keyboards compliment his vocal range on the chorus. "Five-O" also fades up with keyboards and a light drum beat. Its a quiet song until about the 2 minute mark when it picks up pretty good and its the first track there are more than just short harmonies on the backing vocals. With a delayed slide guitar "P.S." brings up the rest of the band towards the end it gets a little more urgent and even the heavy use of strings does little to take away from that (strings i find can often bring down a mood). "Everybody Knows" follows much of the same pattern in that it uses a slow fade up with but equals out nice with some deep drum work. "Knuckle Too Far" finds the guitars almost down tuned as its sounds dark, and heavy, but its not heavy in that its fast. It just "feels" heavy if that makes sense. A track for late night for sure. There is a cool guitar effect that runs thru the track at various points. A hidden gem on the album "Low, Low, Low" is next. Once more we are a little more bouncy and this is where James shines. Acoustic guitar lead with some punchy drums it is a real toe tapper. When this song is done live Booth uses a megaphone to duplicate the studio sound. A terrific and horribly overlooked song from the bands catalog. See the down load for taste will you? Eleven tracks in the big single "Laid" appears. This was the first single and honestly a key reason for me personally to grab the cd. Its a very recognizable song now with the rat a tat used on the drums to bring it all up to a very happy, fun and "risque" track. The vocal bending Booth does we have all done in our cars and showers, come on admit it. Perhaps one of the most emulated vocal parts right up there with yelling "Leonard Bernstein" in REMs the "end of the world..." The band slows it down once more on "Lullaby". A clean bass guitar has a few bars before Booth comes in with the vocals. This is a pretty track and fans of Booths voice are treated to a perfect moment in time with him. The album closes with "Skindiving", which is a nice bookend to the album, ending on more subdued note but noisier than the opener. The falsetto from Booth is really "up there" careful singing along to this.

The end result of these recording sessions even had enough interest to release
Wah Wah a collection of studio outttakes etc.

Where are they now? - The band initially broke up in 2001. Tim Booth went on to release some solo work. Jim Glennie, who was with the band from the start to completion stepped away from music for a bit but surfaced as a producer for a bit. Baynton-Power worked did some work in television and toured with the Alarm for a while. Mostly he spent time with his family. Gott left the band after this album but continued pursuing his career in the arts. In early 2007 the band re-formed and played a series of shows. They are currently working on a new album.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- The first time I saw James was May 8, 1994 at the Orpheum Theater in Boston. I remember a dark, candle lit stage and them opening with "Out to Get You" it was the most rewarding show opener I had seen in ages. The show overall was very good a really terrific show. The second and final time was on the Lollapalooza tour 97. The date was July 8 and the band was on the bill with the likes of Korn and Snoop Dog so they were a little out of place, but that was supposed to be the charm of Lollapalooza.

FDF Overall Take - Even with the success of "Laid" the band really can not, nor should they be put into the "one hit wonder" category. Songs like Born of Frustration are a clear example of how great the band is. Laid itself reads like a best of to begin with. If you check out the
Best of cd there are at least four from this very album. A great band, terrific live act that hardly got their due, this time around perhaps?

Official sitehere
A fan site is here
The band has a myspace page.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

*****MP3's Removed December 27, 2007 4:13pm ET*****

Low Low Low

The three tracks were taken from "Laid" which you can purchase here

***Bonus down load**
The Apollo, Manchester England
April 10, 1998

FM Broadcast..VERY nice!

this has been removed...
Come Home
She's A Star
Say Something
Born of Frustration
Out to Get You
Destiny Calling
Waltzing Along
Johnny Yen
Run Aground
Top of the World
Sit Down

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 10:21 AM, Blogger The Guinness Tooth said...

I had a good sized break between classes yesterday and I listened to this album and Whiplash. James really is a great band. I'm glad they've reformed.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, Buffalo Tom and James over the past couple of weeks. Thank you for posting these.

- Neil

At 1:49 PM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

You are very welcome Neil..glad you enjoy!

At 6:57 PM, Blogger Jenny G said...

I have "Laid" as a single...on cassette.

At 9:01 PM, Blogger JamieSmitten said...

I don't remember any other song than Laid from this album -- but I loved that one. I'll check out the others after reading your review. Good pick!!


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