For audio samples you'll 
need the RealPlayer


NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2004

 

     
 

 
BRIAN WILSON


THE ZOMBIES


BERNIE LEADON

 
TEARS FOR FEARS
 
RACHEL FULLER
 
THE CRICKETS
 
     
 

BRIAN WILSON
Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE
(Nonesuch)

Originally planned way back in 1966 as a three part collaboration between Brian Wilson, his songwriting partner and master lyricist Van Dyke Parks and The Beach Boys, Smile—called the most famous unfinished and unreleased album in pop music history—remains one of the colossal conundrums of the 20th Century. For this first ever “official” release of Smile, released on Nonesuch Records in 2004 with the typographically corrected name SMiLE, Wilson and the noble Parks re-team with Wilson’s touring band of pop mavens including musical director Darian Sahanaja, his buddies in the Wondermints, Nick Walusko and Probyn Gregory, guitarist Jeffrey Foskett, The Stockholm Strings ‘N’ Horns and a number of other fine players who made Wilson’s other recently released solo album of all new material, Gettin’ In Over My Head, so enjoyable. The latest pairing of Wilson and Parks since their incredible ‘90s CD Orange Crate Art, SMiLE makes for a positively serendipitous shindig. The top-notch production of both Wilson and Sahanaja pays a long overdue dividend to Beach Boys fans and the expert recording and mixing by Mark Linett is the icing on the cake. Wilson’s comrade and confidant David Leaf has once again penned outstanding liner notes, placing the unique history of Smile and it’s fortunate offspring, SMiLE into fascinating perspective. Owing to the intrinsic and esoteric origins of much of this music, anyone expecting Wilson-penned Beach Boys ditties like “Fun Fun Fun” or, on another note, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” will be in for a jolt. Miraculously, for the gathering of people who remember how Wilson’s muse was so far ahead of it’s time, SMiLE reappears and reconciles matters 37 years later as if by magic via the musical time tunnel, coming on as nothing less than a profound revelation. Faithfully supporting Wilson and Van’s legendary ‘66-67 work true to it’s original intent, Nonesuch has done a fine job on their packaging of SMiLE, adding in a great looking CD booklet complete with intriguing Americana graphics motif and Leaf’s perspective and an impelling lyrics sheet. Just from a producing perspective, Wilson’s late great recording cohort Gary Usher would be proud with Sahanaja painstakingly coaxing, for posterity, the SMiLE blueprint out of Wilson and Parks, filling in the missing links and even adding a few new parts to this legendary pop puzzle. Just hearing Wilson perform, possibly his grandest song ever, “Surf’s Up” served up in a decorative, prog-surf arrangement with the master at the fore is alone worth any price of admission. www.brianwilson.com

 


 
 

THE ZOMBIES
As Far As I Can See
(Rhino)

A little more than 35 years after they delighted the music world with their final ‘60s album Odessey And Oracle, The Zombies reawaken with a 2004 album release entitled As Far As I Can See. Released stateside on Rhino / WSM, the eleven track CD features founding members Rod Argent and vocalist Colin Blunstone joined together with bass great Jim Rodford, his son Steve Rodford (drums) and guitarist Keith Airey. Produced by keyboard icon Rod Argent, As Far As I Can See blends the timelessness of the Zombies ‘60s sound with Argent’s work in his ‘70s band Argent, which also featured Jim Rodford and his Zombies cohort Chris White, who also lends key backing vocals on a few tracks here. Original Zombies guitarist, Paul Atkinson, passed away last year although he’s credited as being instrumental in securing a U.S. release for the album. Anyone who loved the Zombies psychedelic / R&B sound and the progressive rock vibes of Argent, should track down this CD right away. Reunions this cool don’t happen every day and fitting liner notes by Argent sheds new light on the return of The Zombies. www.rodargent.com / www.colinblunstone.co.uk


 
  BERNIE LEADON
Mirror
(Really Small Intertaiment)

Perhaps hinting at the pairing of The Eagles and producer Glyn Johns on the first few Eagles albums over 30 years ago, Mirror finds Eagles co-founding member Bernie Leadon joined together with Glyn Johns’ son Ethan Johns. In recent times, Leadon and Ethan Johns have toured and recorded various times and they hit paydirt at the helm of Leadon’s first solo album since his 1977 album, Natural Progressions. The 2004 CD release of Mirror echoes that classic, California pop sound of the early Eagles layered with the legendary arty production sound that seems to follow the Johns moniker. Renowned for his classic early ‘70s albums with The Eagles, Leadon has, over the years, worked with Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris, David Bromberg and Stephen Stills to name a few. Enhanced by Johns and a range of fine players, Leadon’s patented songs, singing and guitar playing is revived in fine shape on Mirror. www.bernieleadon.com

 


 
  TEARS FOR FEARS
Everybody Loves A Happy Ending
(UMG)

Reuniting for the first new Tears For Fears studio CD since the ‘89 release of The Seeds Of Love, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith have collaborated on a surprisingly excellent return to form. Track by track, the album exhibits a wondrous Beatles-inspired sense of pop perfection. Orzabal adds, “When we did “Sewing The Seeds Of Love” we were doing Lennon. And I would say the main influence for this album is McCartney, because I think McCartney is the new Lennon.” While keyboards, guitars, drums swirl around in lightening perfection, it’s easy to discern that it’s the songs and the vocals taking center stage here. Roland and Curt truly capture that vital prog-pop spirit and listening to Everybody Loves A Happy Ending is like revisiting an old friend with new tales to tell. www.tearsforfears.net

 


 
  RACHEL FULLER
Cigarettes & Housework
(Universal)

Assisted by Pete Townshend, Pete’s brother Simon Townshend, conductor Gavin Wright conducting the London Session Orchestra, engineer wiz Jon Astley, Who bassist Pino Palladino and more, singer-songwriter Rachel Fuller released her debut CD on Universal in 2004. Sounding inspired by the orchestral pop vision of Pete Townshend, Cigarettes & Housework establishes Fuller as a major talent in her own right. With brains and beauty to match an impressive musical flair, Fuller’s music runs the gamut from soaring, symphonic pop ballads to a more cutting edge, lyrical rock sound in the spirit of Townshend’s lush melodies on Quadrophenia. Arriving on the footsteps of her work on Pete Townshend's critically acclaimed Lifehouse project and her collaborations with ambient electronic act Delirium, Cigarettes & Housework is a gutsy musical statement worthy of discovery by Who fans on the lookout for fresh musical directions. www.rachelfuller.com



 
  THE CRICKETS
The Crickets And Their Buddies
(Sovereign)

No matter what anybody tells you, the music of Buddy Holly & The Crickets has made a lasting impact on just about every pop, country and rock artist since the late ‘50s. Although Holly tragically died in early ‘59 on ‘the day the music died’, his Crickets cohorts—drummer/songwriter Jerry ‘Ivan’ Allison, bassist Joe B. Mauldin and guitarists Sonny Curtis and Tommy Allsop—went on to record a number of great Crickets albums in the short years that followed Buddy’s untimely death. Lo and behold, in 2004 J.I., Joe B. and Sonny Curtis are back on the scene with a new studio album on Sovereign. The Crickets And Their Buddies finds the legendary trio running over some classic musical terrain alongside superstars such as Albert Lee, The Everly Brothers, Graham Nash, Eric ‘Slowhand” Clapton, Tonio K., Waylon Jennings, Bobby Vee, Johnny Rivers, Nanci Griffith and more. Highlights include Clapper’s classy revival of “Someone, Someone”, Johnny Rivers with one of Buddy’s last recordings, “Love’s Made A Fool Of You”—a song which in fact, provided the musical blueprint for the Sonny Curtis-penned, “I Fought The Law”, (the Bobby Fuller classic) covered here by Vince Neil. Like the CD liner notes point out, the influence Buddy Holly & The Crickets still has will not fade away. www.sovereignartists.com




 
 
 
   
Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by mwe3.com. Send to: MWE3.com CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249
 e-mail:
rss54@mwe3.com
   
 
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home
 

 

Copyright 2000-2004 MWE3.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved