Friday, July 31, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 152 - Living Colour - Vivid

By: March

Album - Vivid
Artist - Living Colour
Key Players - Vernon Reid - Guitar. Muzz Skillings - bass. Will Calhoun - drums. Corey Glover - vocals.
Produced By - Ed Stasium and Mick Jagger on "Glamour Boys"

Release Date - May 3, 1988

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- Blame Guitar Hero honestly. Granted you can still hear Cult of Personality from time to time on rock radio, me trying to played "Cult" on medium has proved taxing enough!

Overview - Formed in New York City in 1983, Living Colour ran over rock radio with their funk metal that was popular at the time. What made the band stand out to middle America (for better or worse) was the fact the band was made up of all African Americans. In the very early years they'd have a fan in Mick Jagger who had Reid and Calhoun play on his solo record "Primitive Cool". With a strong demo the band would get singed and released this record. It would peak at #6 on the Billboard charts, they'd play Saturday Night Live and share a bill with Guns and Roses opening for the Rolling Stones. They'd cap off the albums success with a Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance" for "Cult of Personality".

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- After a spoken word intro ( "And in the few moments we have left, we want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand."This is Malcolm X, from his "Message To The Grass-Roots" speech in 1963.) the buzzy guitar from Reid opens "Cult of Personality". Quickly you realize this is one solid band. Calhoun and Skillings offer great bottom to the track and Glover has more of a soaring vocal style than you'd expect. Reid could be gruff, but sings in varying octaves and the band really excels. Reid gets a flashy guitar solo early before they return to the verse again but gets a longer and flashier solo later. Calhoun and Skillings get to show off a little as well with their tight rhythm. John F. Kennedy says "Ask not what your country can do for you" and the band fires back off for one more round. The famous lines "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself" taken from Franklin D. Roosevelt during his first inaugural address in 1933 wraps up the track. The up tempo rock feel continues on "I Want to Know". Reid is more choppy on guitar at the outset, but you hear Skillings pop off the bass a little more. Glover and the rest of the guys have some good harmonies on the chorus. The song is tight, and "clean" you can hear each guy and the vocals are mixed just right.

the band would share a live bill withGuns and Roses andthe Rolling Stones

Reid who is a jazz guitar player really has a great solo at the end as well. The choppy guitar opens "Middle Man" and percussion is up in the mix this time. Glover is in fine voice once more. For a band as "heavy" he has a pretty light voice. Don't read this as he is not a powerful singer, because that could not be any further from the truth. The more chaotic "Desperate People" begins and the guitar, bass and drums are all flying. The bass pops, guitar throws down big chords and the drums punch it all up a notch. The vocals come in about the one minute mark and Glover growls a little this time, and the vocals are sung between guitar chords. Glover really pushes himself later vocally and the longest guitar solo on the record is unleashed by Reid on this track. Its a blistering track that has fallen under the radar for sure. Behold its awesomeness in the down load section. A far more laid back intro brings in "Open Letter (To a Landlord)" with just a solo guitar and then Glover singing along. The song picks up in intensity in short order and although not as flashy some of the prior tracks, its no less "rocking". One of the first "guests" on the record appear on "Funny Vibe" , when Public Enemy's Chuck D and Flavor Flav offer some commentary on the track. At the start its a hard rocking affair that is instrumental before switching to a deep funk groove. The lyrics are not really given in rap form, but Glover sings over the top of the verse at times to give it a more melodic touch. Skillings and Calhoun again really anchor this tune. There is a false ending and Reid shreds a great solo to bring it back. The band does a cover next. Talking Heads "Memories Can't Wait" (which was on Talking Heads Fear of Music record) and again Reid wastes little time making this tune his. The chime coming off the ride cymbal is way up in the mix and the bands does a very respectful version, yet making it their own at the same time. Mick Jagger plays harmonica on "Broken Hearts" which opens with the harmonica and a big horn sound. It seems a little out of place, with the band taking a much slower approach, but this might need to be their power ballad moment. Reid has a cool solo, but its not overly interesting as a whole. Jagger returns on "Glamour Boys". He produced this track, and he sings backing vocals. Skillings get to show off his chops on the bass intro and the Reid has a quick wah wah guitar groove he latches on to. Calhoun keeps pretty simple time but the tune has a real fun vibe to it. "What's Your Favorite Color? (Theme Song)" is another very funky track. The horn section returns to offer blasts over the top. The lyrics are short and to the point and this is more a showcase for the band. The album closes with "Which Way to America?" another very quick paced tune with Reid playing short choppy notes and Calhoun and Skillings each getting turns to really throw down. About 2:50 in Glover goes crazy and the band erupts around him.

Where are they now? - The band disbanded in 1995 after some creative differences. In 1992 Skillings had left the band and was replaced with Doug Wimbish on bass. After a few years the band reformed in December of 2000 at CBGB's in New York. Since then they have released a studio record, and a few live records and DVD have come out. The band is currently working in a new album (their fifth) and it is due out in the US in September 2009.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- The only time I saw the band was August 8, 1991 as part of the first Lollapalooza. Living Colour was one of the later in the day bands to have a set, but I recall most folks were sort of passive about the whole thing. I recall the drum set being under a pyramid but that is largely it sadly.

FDF Overall Take - There is little doubt the band is/was very strong. Calhoun, Skillings and Reid really need to be mentioned more often when it comes to strong and skilled players. Glover is no slouch either with some great pipes. The band might have fallen off your radar after their second cd "Time's Up" but upon a re-listen they do warrant more of their time. Curious to hear what the new cd shall bring. Grab this, a best of, or both for that matter, and talk up the band with the respect they have earned.

The band on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3's have been removed.
Desperate People
Funny Vibe
Glamour Boys

You can get a re mastered and expanded version of the cd here.

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.

Friday, July 24, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 151 - Bob Marley & The Wailers = Babylon By Bus

By: March

Album - Babylon By Bus
Artist - Bob Marley & The Wailers
Key Players - Bob Marley - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, Carlton Barrett - drums, Aston "Family Man" Barrett - bass, Tyrone "Organ D" Downie - keyboards, Junior Marvin - lead guitar, Alvin "Seeco" Patterson - percussion, Al Anderson - lead guitar, Earl "Wire" Lindo - keyboards. Rita Marley - backing vocals, Marcia Griffiths - backing vocals, Judy Mowatt - backing vocals

Produced By - Bob Marley & The Wailers, Chris Blackwell and Jack Nuber.

Release Date - November 10, 1978

What caused me to blow off the dust? - It is rare for me to do a live album as a review. After last weeks review had a very mixed reaction I figured I'd go a little more "universally liked" artist to try and win back my readers! Also, a guy I play hockey with put the bug in my ear on this one..(thanks Dave)

Overview - This album was recorded in 1978 while on tour for the "Kaya" album. Recorded mostly in Paris, this record captures Bob Marley and his band the Wailers in fine form. The vinyl release was spread out over two records and the album cover featured a bus, with cut out windows that purchaser could "rotate" due to their being four sides of art to place in the window. This was the second live album to be released and came after over eight studio releases. It catches them in fine form.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) -

the audience sings in elation whengiven the chance

A chatty Marley greets an enthusiastic audience and before you know it the drum clicks off, the audience is cheering, clapping along and the choppy guitar begins. "Positive Vibration". The bass is solid, and has just the vibe. Bob sings and gets the responses from the three backing singers. The music is full of quick keyboard runs, wah wah guitars and Bob giving it his all. When you listen, you wonder how hard he physically sang. He doesn't sound like he is pushing himself, but sounds very full. There is an instrumental breakdown w/the drums and percussion and the ladies sing over that as well before the return to the verse and the song winds down. Shouting "Are you ready" the crowd once again gets fired up "Punky Reggae Party". The Marley and Lee Perry penned track is a more uptempo affair than the prior track. Its got an infectious bounce to it. The audience sings in elation given any chance and Bob is in command of this version. The drums are up in the mix with that piccolo snare sound (a real high "twap" sound on the drum). If you legs don't bounce on this version there is little Bob can do to fix that, it just takes you over. The audience once again claps along as the ladies start off "Exodus". Bob has a little "gruff" in his voice but the vibe of the track once more is infectious. One of this trademark tracks get a glowing workout with some fun guitar fills tossed in for something a little out of the norm you may have recalled from Legend. As we "set the captives free" the band is even more urgent. The band has hard instrumental breaks, the ladies are pushing the song forward as the guitars and bass keep it locked down. There is no denying this band was not one tight unit. Carlton Barrett gets a little showcase on the drums. It is not a flashy solo, but just him locked into that tight groove as the band sits back. There are some keyboard fills and the band goes a little more hushed, but they swell back up for an explosive ending. "Stir It Up" follows. This version was recorded July 18 1975 at The Lyceum, London, England. The audio still sounds similar and the band equally as tight, you'd probably not notice unless you read the liner notes. Astons bass line is probably one of the big trademarks of this song, as is the three guitar chords that resonate throughout. The percussion kicks back as the keyboards get a showcase here. A trademark and smile inducing track for sure. Another track taken from another venue (recorded in 76, Hammersmith Odeon, London England) is the Rita Marley penned "Rat Race". One of the shortest songs on the record at 3:25. It opens with the ladies singing the song title a few times before Bob comes in and offers the calming voice as always. The song is not overly interesting, its not terrible but it never gets really going anywhere (at least to me). "Concrete Jungle" begins with one of the first real guitar solos on the record. The guitar goes, whole the drums keep time and the deep bass notes accentuate the feel. The keyboards get a little krunky at times and the drums have that trade mark thwap to them. The song is sort of a mid tempo track for the band. Its still fun, but not as lively as some of the other tracks. "Kinky Reggae" keeps the vibe going, the tracking of this record is really great, as the songs fit perfectly in sequence. This song is still on the mid-tempo side for Marley but still strong. The familiar groove of "Lively Up Yourself" is treated with a more guitar based intro. Bob chants to the audience and gets a rousing response each time. The band locks into a groove and his head down and off to the races. The keyboards are showcased, one playing a rolling lead, while the other locks in with the bass. No reason to not see this one as a classic from the band. Bob warns us to "never get caught in a road block" as "Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock)" begins. The backing vocalists are back in, and in fine form. The band is locked into their groove. Later in the song Bob sings with a certain "edge" and really bears down vocally, but he will quickly soar back into his usual style. There is a quick guitar solo towards the end of the track that is not overly flashy and is just the right length. The band sounds serious (well more than usual on "War / No More Trouble". They have crisp back beats and the bass gets chugging along before hitting it's groove. The ladies offer short bursts of vocals as Bob sings the verses. It sort of feels a little "samey" and doesn't really seem to break the mold they had laid at the out set. The audience is particularly rowdy on "Is This Love". The song is the second longest on the record (behind Exodus) and the band really spreads our for a spirited version that really is watershed moment on the record. Bob sounds great, the backing vocals are perfect and the band is really locked in. People often say James Brown's band was the tightest band ever, and I never really put much stock in the Wailers (sure I thought they were good) but man..they are real good. "Heathen" seems to cool it down again. Once more Bob has nice interplay with the backing vocalists and the guitar solo tossed out is the most aggressive on the record. It comes back once more later in the track, but the band remains pretty calm behind it all. The record wraps up with the wildly popular "Jamming". Is there really much this reviewer needs to say about it? There is an musical interlude about 2:35 in that lets the drums, percussion and bass roll. As the song begins to hit its climax you can feel the energy that it really was the show closer. Band intros, lots of cheering, guitar solos and ravenous hand clapping but the audience along to the beat. What I have found it it appears that this was likely NOT the set closer, it actually likely had 4 songs follow it. Still a great album closer none the less.

Where are they now?
Bob Marley died in a Miami Hospital on May 11, 1981 from melanoma that had spread from his lungs to his brain. Aston "Family Man" Barrett is the father of (at least) 52 children and Barrett tours with, and leads "The Wailers Band" to this day. Carlton Barrett, who was brothers with Aston was shot and killed on April 17, 1987 he was 36 years old. Junior Marvin carried on the band name releasing material under the name The Wailers Band. After doing this for a few years he left for Brazil where he lived and worked as a session musician. In 2009 he toured with/under the moniker The Original Wailers. Al Anderson continues work as a session musician. Rita Marley, the widow of Marley, works to retain his legacy, some say, not doing the best of jobs. Marcia Griffiths wrote the song "Electric Boogie" released in 1976 and re-released in 1989, made the Electric Slide, a line dance, an international dance craze. It remains the highest-selling single by a female Reggae singer of all time. Judy Mowatt converted to Christianity and has released some Gospel Records. Tyrone "Organ D" Downie lives in France, Earl "Wire" Lindo in London. An update on Alvin "Seeco" Patterson was unknown.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw Bob Marley live. I actually only know one person that had seen him live. Odd.

FDF Overall Take - Considering his best of collection "Legend" sells a few million copies a year there are fans out there, and will always be. That collection sells well for very good reason and is a terrific look at his musical legacy. Hearing Bob live is really a lot of fun and there are bunch of songs even the most casual of fans would recognize. Since you probably have Legend, get this. Well worth giving it the old front to back treatment.

The Official site here, a long Wiki entry and of course, a myspace page.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3s have been removed...
Stir It Up

Tracks taken from "Babylon By Bus" which you can buy here.

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.

Friday, July 17, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 150: Sinéad O'Connor - I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

By: March

Album - I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
Artist - Sinéad O'Connor
Key Players - Sinéad O'Connor - vocals, guitar, percussion, keyboards
Produced By - Sinéad O'Connor, Nellee Hooper, Chris Birkett and Sean Devitt

Release Date - March 1990

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Sometimes I feel like I am just "coasting" when I re-listen to a record from a band/artist that is their biggest selling. Even that being said it doesn't mean I listen to it all that often, so I just need to deal with that.

Overview - This was the second release from Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor. This record would follow here critically acclaimed debut and go on to sell over 7 Million copies world wide and reaching #1 in more than nine countries. It was nominated for four Grammy Awards and won for Best Alternative Music Performance. In 2003 the album was ranked number 406 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The record got the deluxe make over in the middle part of 2009, here we look at the original release. "Feel So Different" slowly fades up with a spoken verse that is accented with strings. The spoken section is actually the "Serenity Prayer" that was written by Reinhold Niebuhr. The vocals are hushed, but still very strong. The listener can feel her urgency. About the 2:30 mark of the song O'Connor goes up higher in range and it really punches off the speakers. She would repeat this later in the track and the track would not stray from just the vocals and string section. The 17th century poem "I Am Stretched On Your Grave", follows. The poem was written in Irish and translated to English. The back beat of the track sounds like a rap song sample, a sort of scratchy basic looping drum beat. The translator of the song (Phillip King) set the tone of the vocal delivery with the arrangement. There seems to be a keyboard tossed in there as well that plays some simple single notes here and there. The drum loops for the bulk of the song before a fiddle and drum interlude play at the end of the track. The hauntingly beautiful "Three Babies" showcases O'Connor on guitar, again with a string section. Her vocals are hushed and she really hits her stride on some of the verses by really sounding off. It can startle the listener almost, it sounds like a lullaby at times. She hits some high notes that are just off the charts and if in the right setting will induce some chills. With the four clacks off the drum sticks "The Emperor's New Clothes" begins. This is the first full band feel, up tempo track on the record. Marco Pirroni, the guitar player for Adam Ant plays the electric on this track. This track also features Andy Rourke of the Smiths (FDF Looks at The Queen is Dead) on bass, (he plays on a few others as well). This was one of the singles from the record, but it did not chart as well as "Nothing Compares 2 U". The bass playing is strong from Andy Rourke and O'Connor has a great acoustic guitar lead on the track. The vocals are over dubbed and O'Connor harmonizes with herself in doing so. The band really clicks on the final few bars of the track, ending on a very high note. "Black Boys on Mopeds" is one of my favorite songs on the record. The solo O'Connor with acoustic guitar is just a stunning beauty. The song which was arranged with the help of Karl Wallinger (World Party) is a very dark track. O'Connor sings about how England is not a mythical land, and they have the same political issues as any other place. The final picture on the cd liner notes is one of Colin Roach what appears to be his parents holding vigil by his picture. The album and perhaps O'Connors watershed moment comes next on "Nothing Compares 2 U". The song, written by Prince is a pretty song full of orchestration and the video image of a solo O'Connor in a black turtleneck, and crying during the song are etched in the collective memory of millions of viewers. This single was a massive hit for O'Connor, and would remain at #1 for 11 weeks in both Ireland and Germany. The tempo is brought back up with "Jump in the River". Andy Rourke plays both bass and acoustic guitar on the track, but O'Connor set the drum program, played guitar and keyboards. This is a rocking tune by her standards. A little more gruff that "emperor" but a real up tempo affair for the record. Rourke is also on "You Cause as Much Sorrow" which begins with a very hushed O'Connor singing with piano and acoustic guitar. The song gets more up tempo as it progresses and turns out to be a full band of guitar, bass and drums. It starts off slow, but gets going. To me, "The Last Day of Our Acquaintance" is the best song on the record. After all these years it still destroys me. A solo O'Connor sings in hushed voice over acoustic guitar for the bulk of the track hitting some terrific places vocally and then it happens. The acoustic gets strummed even harder, the drums kick in the bass swoops over (played by original Public Image Limited bassist Jah Wobble). O'Connor barks some "oh oh oh" between each line on the final verse. The bass playing smokes and compliments O'Connor crashing to a stunning ending. The album wraps up with the title track "I do Not Want What I Haven't Got". Once again, a solo O'Connor sings hushed. The track is a Cappella and is, once again, a haunting beautiful sounding track. O'Connor is in her element here.

Where are they now? - Coming off this record Sinéad was a hot commodity. She joined the Roger Waters "Wall" concert in Berlin in 1990 and was guesting on benefit records. In 1992 during an episode of "Saturday Night Live" at the completion of her second song (an a Cappela version of Bob Marley's "War") she held a photo of Pope John Paul II, and tore it to pieces and shouted "Fight the Real Enemy". Thus began a huge backlash with her being boo'd from the stage at a Bob Dylan Tribute at Madison Square Garden. Two years earlier she caused a rift when she refused to allow for the American National Anthem to be played before she came to the stage at a concert in New Jersey. She never has really recovered in the US market. She has been married twice, has children and admits that she attempted suicide on her 33rd birthday. After all this, she hopes to have an album of new material out in 2010.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- I have never seen Sinead O'Connor live.

FDF Overall Take - As noted it is a little easy to do a record so many people might know (even if its for 1-2 songs). The beauty of this record is some of the most delicate moments backed to some of her more driving moments. Going from a whisper to a howl in just a few notes you can hear her breathe between verses, you are sucked in. All "odd ball" analogies aside, she is, and this is, really a great collection of songs.

Official site here and a decent looking fan? site here. Also, Sinéad on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3's have been removed.

The Last Day of Our Acquaintance
The Emperor's New Clothes

Bonus Download!
Prince doing Nothing Compares 2 U

Tracks taken from "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" which you can buy here.

The Prince version you can find on "The Hits 1" which you can get here.

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.

Friday, July 10, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 149 - INXS - Listen Like Thieves

By: March

Album - Listen Like Thieves
Artist - INXS
Key Players - Garry Gary Beers - Bass. Jon Farriss - Drums. Tim Farriss - Guitar and Synthesizers. Kirk Pengilly - Guitar, saxophone and vocals. Andrew Farriss - Keyboards and Guitar. Michael Hutchence - Vocals.
Produced By - Chris Thomas

Release Date - October 14, 1985

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Been sort of meaning to do INXS for a while now, and when I took a list in alphabetical order of all the FDF's that have been done, there have been no "I" bands. Problem solved.

Overview - This was the 5th Album and considered the breakthrough for the Australian band INXS. This record would spawn their first top 5 single (What you need) and would go as high as #11 in US and 3 in Australia. The band would maintain a large fan base with subsequent releases and were poised to continue such a path until the untimely death of singer Michael Hutchence.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Drums roll across and the band sounds not quite ready to go, then a guitar chord and "What You Need" begins. One of the bigger songs from the record, it was actually the second single. The song has a fun feel to it, blending keyboards and some long saxophone notes that as the chorus approaches hit power chords on the guitar. After the chorus the sax is up more in the mix and the band will do this again, with Pengilly going even higher in the octave on the sax and having a great sax run as the music begins to fade on the track. The guitar slowly plays chippy notes and "Listen Like Thieves"is underway. Beers bass gets to show off some with some slap heavy notes and some deep grooves. The guitar is playful and the keyboards are used more to fill out the sound rather than be a focal point. The pay off is the final verse when Hutchence really pushes himself and the guitars play in unison giving a great wall of sound, a terrific moment. They actually do it twice, separated by a guitar solo. The second time is even better. A lone guitar opens "Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)". As the verse begins the guitar repeats the same chord while the bass and keyboard and drums follow suit. Hutchence is a little more laid back on this track during the verses. The chorus has the keyboard and guitar playing off one another. The keyboard with long notes and the guitar more chopping in to it all. It is pretty laid back until the end when the guitar comes distorted over it all and the bass and drums fire off each other. Beers slaps the bass to attention and before you know it, we even off once more and end on a much more "mellow" note. On "Shine Like It Does" we hear the play of two guitars, yet this time one is acoustic. Again, on the surface a "mellower" song thus far but it stands its own. The keyboard rounds out the sound while the drums keep solid time. The electric guitar will play over the acoustic at times, but it has a unique sound so it adds a nice touch, and at times sounds a little twangy. A more full keyboard begins "Good + Bad Times". This track has a strong bass line again, not complicated but high on the mix. The guitars crunch at times, and the drums seem to be getting hit a little harder. Pengilly plays the soprano sax at one point and the drums and guitar continue to be hit hard. Once again, the track seems to be mixed flawlessly with no one instrument washing out the other. "Biting Bullets" is an uptempo track. Hutchence begins to sing right at the start, and musically it feels a little more "busy" for some reason. Prior to this the instruments all seems to have a focus, this sounds just noisy for some reason. Its not a bad track, its rocking for sure, but we have been spoiled with a cleaner sound up to this point. The actual first single from the record "This Time" follows. The long guitar begins with Hutchence and the song slowly builds in its intensity. The keyboards are simple and the bass has that trademark punch. As the chorus approaches the band picks up the vibe and if you listen really hard you can hear some harmonizing on the chorus vocals. A little more electronic feeling track is "Three Sisters". The band relies on some ambiance sounds with the keyboards and the drums also sound "electric" on this track. All in all it is okay since the song is just an instrumental. A very 80's feeling "Same Direction" begins with synth and a buzzy guitar. It feels like a toss out from "Blade Runner" but a guitar gets strummed over the top with that trademark chime. By the time the vocals start the band has struck a strong groove. Hutchence is not overly flashy but his vocals are strong and the band fills in gaps nicely. It has a similar feel to the track "shine like it does" but there is a more complex breakdown during the track that separates the two. "One x One" begins with a big horn section and Hutchence seems to have a smile in his voice. The record wraps up with the raucous "Red Red Sun". The drums get the bulk of the work on this track. Hutchence gets some vocal delay working for him as the first verse begins with long calls that echo over the intro. The drums really drive this tune and it ends on a very strong note.

Where are they now? - Michael Hutchence released a solo record (FDF looked at it here) and he passed away in 1997 and the band wouldn't perform without him for over a year. They tried a few guest vocalists (one being Terence Trent D'Arby whom we looked at on FDF recently but it was not until 2005, with a reality television series called "Rock Star:INXS" did INXS really make the news on US shores. In the end J.D. Fortune won the contest and became the new lead singer for INXS. The band quickly recorded "Switch" and embarked on tour. Things were not so Rosy for the band. They'd be dropped from their label in 2006 and drummer Garry Gary Beers would suffer hand issues requiring him to not play more than three shows in a row. There is confusion as to what happened with Fortune in the band. He admits to having drug problems but the reasons for his dismissal remain cryptic. Fortune claims he was let go with a handshake in a Hong Kong airport, but the band has since said they have not ruled out working with him again. In the meantime, as of this writing, the band are working on a record in the memory of Hutchence.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I saw the band on two occasions. The first was July 24, 1986 at what now is the Comcast Center in Mansfield. It was my first time at the venue and I recall getting tickets very close to, if not the day of the show. It was great, and the band were very strong live. I recall tracking down their old records and tapes soon after this show. The second and final time was on the "Kick" tour where the band was even bigger. This time was March 21, 1988 at the Centrum in Worcester, MA. Sort of an odd billing as the band was getting a little more towards the soccer mom crowd with big MTV hits, you'd find John Lydon and Public Image Limited (FDF looks at the "Generic" album here) opening the show. It was a much more "scream" filled show, but again, the band delivered in a live setting.

FDF Overall Take - Like many bands of the era, casual fans would probably grab a best of collection first and foremost. With this, and Kick the band really came in to their own as a strong alternative rock band. Listen Like Thieves is still a very strong record to this day, and it is no surprised the band still has a solid fan base.

The band's Official and myspace pages.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3's have been taken down...

This Time
Listen Like Thieves

Both tunes taken from "Listen Like Thieves" which you can buy here. (for very cheap money I might add)

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

Friday, July 03, 2009

FDF Volume 2 Issue 148: Jamiroquai - Synkronized

By: March

Album - Synkronized
Artist - Jamiroquai
Key Players - Toby Smith - keyboards. Nick Fyffe - bass. Simon Katz - Guitar. Sola Akingbola - percussion. Wallis Buchanan - digeridoo. D-Zire -DJ. Drums - Nick McKenize. Jay Kay - Lead Vocals.
Produced By - Al Stone

Release Date - June 8, 1999

What caused me to blow off the dust? - At the outset was unsure what to re listen to this week..and I just happened to start in/around this point of the cd collection and that was that. We are not overly technical here.

Overview - This was the fourth studio album by UK based band "Jamiroqaui". The band took its name by combining "Jam" and "Iroquai" based on the Native American Tribe. Jay Kay, the groups leader, formed the band after he failed the vocal audition for another band. They'd release two records that would go to #1 and #2 in the UK but not crack the US charts. It was not until "Virtual Insanity" from the bands third record "Travelling Without Moving" would the band see any waves in the US (It would peak at #24). The band would win multiple MTV Video awards and create some additional buzz in North America. They'd release three more studio records before releasing a best of/singles collection in 2006. Each record would chart lower than the previous in the US, but in the UK the lowest "peak" the band would see is #3 on the charts.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The first single from the record "Canned Heat" opens the record. At the very outset it seems mellow, with some keyboard fills before the drums and wah wah guitar come in. The bass gets funky and the tempo picks up. Jay sings at a pretty quick pace and the tone is set for the entire record with this funk/disco collection. The chorus they enunciate on "Dance" and the string fills off set the real funky back beat. If you toes don't tap on this one, you won't like the record, its that simple. The song gets really cooking with the funk back beats and a grinding keyboard run. "Planet Home" is a little more laid back but no less funk fueled. The focus is on the bass and some percussion instruments for the first verse it feels a little "samey" until the 3 minute mark when there is some cool delay on the vocals and a good piano break down with the percussion instruments going full tilt. "Black Capricorn Day" slowly builds with a great bass groove and percussion accented with the chanting of "hey!". There are funk bass runs, with the drums and horn sections fill out any gaps in the track. The band is feeding off one another and you can tell even in the studio setting. (I recall playing this song from time to time when I worked at the radio station and wondered why it wasn't WAY bigger). What mid section of the song gets a little more repetitive for better or worse, that could be the reason, then it returns to the hook of the song for the final 2 minutes. Sounding like something Stevie Wonder would do, "Soul Education" begins and Jay quickly comes in. Once again, the mix is strong as you can hear the percussion instruments right along with the bass line that pushes everything right along. Some keyboard runs and strings fill out the chours as Jay sings at his usual rapid pace. For the first time on the record we "slow it down" on "Falling". The it is a smooth/funky song, but even the vocals are laid back. It is a moment of rest for the band, it just has to be. "Destitute Illusion" has move of the deep groove feel the listener has come used to in the record. The track seems to loop on one music bed section and is totally instrumental. It never gets overly complex, or ever really all that interesting, but its not a skippable track either somehow. The didgeridoo is the focal instrument on the intro to "Supersonic". It slowly gets meshed with some deeper keyboard tones and cool funky back beats. Jay seems to take more breaks from singing allowing the band to really get on a roll. In a live setting one could assume this song would really spread its wings. "Butterfly" shifts gears a little, and we are more into a soulful/smooth groove. It sounds a little campy with almost whispered lines in the chorus, but the band really shines per the norm. We get the good mix of uptempo and funkyness once more on "Where Do We Go from Here?". The mix is great once more, as the bass and percussion instruments are pushed up in the mix and you can hear everything. It is a treat to hear music like this. There is a great break down on this and the guitar gets a run before the bass and horns really get it moving. It remains at the same tempo for the duration of the track, but each verse seems quicker than the last. In reading about "King for a Day" this track was written for departed long time bass player Stuart Zender and it is noticeable in the track the lack of bass guitar or any bass synth. The track is piano led with a simple drum part. The track has a full sound and is sort of a somber track to wrap up such an uptempo record.

Where are they now?
- The band is still active today and hope to release an album of new material in the Fall of 2009.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have not seen the band live. I had tickets for a show of theirs on this very tour, but I gave them to a buddy who to this day still raves how great it was.

FDF Overall Take - If you are looking for some more uptempo and slightly different music for your workouts/walks at lunch you may want to look at some of this bands material. Most would take the path towards the Singles collection, but there are some gems buried on this record. As one reviewer wrote "Imagine if Stevie Wonder made a disco record". It might not be for everyone, but the band is really tight and worth your time.

Official page is here and myspace is here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

the mp3's have been removed.

Black Capricorn Day

The tracks were taken from "Synkronized" which you can buy here.

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.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

****BUSTED x2****

For long time fans of this site I got hit w/my second "removal content". The first was Depeche Mode back in January 2008, the newest was the Paul Young disc from a few weeks ago. I have restored the "text" versions of the entries.

As a reminder Mp3's are up for about a week, then taken down to avoid "issues". I never intend to "steal" music. (I own every cd that is reviewed) and I think I do a fair enough job in letting management know they can contact me to take stuff down, and I always provide at least one link as to where you can buy stuff.

That's it.
Thanks for reading.