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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

BECK: Profanity Prayers (2008)

Rocking goodness from Mr. Campbell. This track, taken from his last official studio album, has Beck straying from his usual go-to producer Nigel Goderich and using Danger Mouse. The stripped-down production kicks in with a single-string riff over an E-pedal, with vocals reminiscent of Niel Young's "Mr. Soul". Yet the beat brings the tempo to another level entirely. The choruses are a nice variation on the theme, with key changes bringing a sense of flight before returning to the E-vamp. Also of note is the slide-guitar and effects interlude at 2:32. Given the right marketing, this could have easily been a single off this album.Song : "Profanity Prayers" by Beck
From the LP "MODERN GUILT" (DGC) Jul. 8, 2008

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

RUSH : The Camera Eye [1981]

Rush's Time Machine Tour 2010 - 2011 is the third most successful tour of the past year (behind Usher and Lady Gaga, yikes!), proving how enduring the trio is to their legions of fans. One of this tour's selling points is the fact that the band is playing their most popular album "Moving Pictures" in its entirety. Married to this is the re-release of the album as a Deluxe Edition, with a version in 5.1 audio surround! I have said time and again that the only way to remaster music these days is to do something different, and listening to a favourite album in 5.1 is like nothing else! If done well, the remaster will trump all previous versions and become the 'ultimate edition'. Genesis has done it, King Crimson is doing it, and other artists may follow suit. The success of this reissue now has the band considering reworking their ENTIRE back catalogue! That will be a thrill to fans if that comes to pass.
In the meantime, you can check out the new remaster of "The Camera Eye". This is the longest track on the "Moving Pictures", and the last track ever written by Rush to exceed the 10-minute mark! It is basically written in two large parts, the first part has the lyrics painting an image of New York City, whlie the second part deals with London. The beginning is filled with synths, perfectly dating the song. One of my favourite Rush riffs starts at ~2:43, I always felt this kind of sound typifies the band. The flow of the song is wonderfully 'jerky', where the song basically reboots at the 5:59 mark. And Neil Peart's fills, although ever-present, tend to play for the song rather than against it. For example, the understated accents starting at 6:16 lift that part of the song to another level. What's also interesting about this song is it really shows the musicianship of Alex Lifeson - the part of his guitar solo at 9:51 shows a higher level of technique than I've heard from him before! This track may take a few listens to get the true feel of it, but the rewards are there if you do.

Song : "The Camera Eye" by RushFrom the LP "MOVING PICTURES" (Anthem) Feb. 12, 1981

Geddy Lee : bass, synths (Minimoog, Oberheim, Moog Taurus bass pedals), vocals
Alex Lifeson : guitars
Neil Peart : drums, percussion

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

WILLIE TEE : Walk Tall (Baby That's What I Need) (1970)

Wilson Turbinton, a.k.a. Willie Tee, the New Orleans singer and keyboard player, recorded a number of great soul, R&B, and funk tunes in his career. This track is from is first solo album, recorded on Capitol Records (he got a deal through sax player Cannonball Adderley), and has just been re-released on CD. The song contains a nice Southern groove, showcasing his warm vocals and pained lyrics. This is the only track on the album with a co-writing credit by friend Joe Zawinul, just before he started Weather Report. The strings and well-placed instrumentation were produced by none other than David Axelrod. The album's lack of success led him to start his own label and form the funk band THE GATURS, which put out a number of classic funk singles. Song : "Walk Tall (Baby That's What I Need)" by Willie Tee
From the LP "I'M ONLY A MAN" (Capitol ST-199) 1970

Check out more Willie Tee on this blog!

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