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douglas barton "emotions in motion" (Arlington, Va.)
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44 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated treasures & Under-rated pleasures, 6 Jan 2002
At the risk of receiving some rather unpleasant e-mails regarding this review I must say I'm at a complete loss as to the popularity of this Eva Cassidy's disc " Songbird " After attempting, on several occassions, to listen to the disc in one sitting I've simply at this point given up! While I find Eva Cassidy to be a talented performer the tunes on this cd, admittedly pleasant at first, grow far too ponderous for me to digest in one helping. I don't believe this artist is being disingenuous.... it's just that with the songs being presented as they are it simply smacks of a singer who is trying far too hard to 'say something.'
Don't misunderstand me, Eva does have a wonderful clarity of voice and unique phrasing that makes her songs a joy to listen to. Everything here though is performed, to a degree, in a overly-simplistic manner that after awhile tends to make the album extremely slow moving. But other than tackling a few standards, and some newer material, i.e. " Fields of Gold " I don't hear anything that truly bowled me over. Nice enough but, I felt, fairly 'ordinary' as well! I did enjoy her rendition of " Over The Rainbow " but ( call me insensitive here! ) it just didn't stop me in my tracks and bring me to tears. There are other 'nice things' to be found here as well, such as " Wade In The Water " which had a nice jazzy feel to it and was the one selection I enjoyed most but..... " Autumn Leaves " moved at a glacial pace and the title track " Songbird " was slow and ponderous as well. Overall, while I did enjoy some of what is offered here I found this disc simply too slow and at times even far too 'quaint' for my tastes. At times the whole affair sounds terribly forced.
Now, knowing full well that this may upset some listener's who consider themselves to be fans of Eva's, the cynic in me suspects that since this is a 'compilation', and not a disc created by the artist, that perhaps the record execs. who compiled these tracks tended to lean toward selections that are, for the most part, overly- sentimental and nostalgic. The album as a whole seems just far too calculated in the selections chosen to be simply put together by someone who isn't, to some degree, market savy. By presenting tunes that are obviously so heart-felt and unfortunately 'syrypy' as these songs generally are presented, the question that begs to be asked is, were these tunes meant to give the listener a clearer emotional connection with a singer who is no longer with us....or are we simply being 'emotionally blackmailed'? The answer to that difficult question is simply how you wish to relate to this disc.
In the end while I enjoyed much of what Eva does on this disc, i.e. " People Get Ready " was nicely performed and perhaps the one track that showed some real 'muscle', overall the disc tends to 'wear it's heart on it's sleeve' just a little too prominently for my taste. Nevertheless, regardless of your affinity for this style of music ( and in questioning the origins in choosing to release these songs ) Eva still left us with some truly wonderful music. No matter how you digest it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 19, 2009 7:05 PM GMT


Night Sessions
Night Sessions
Price: 6.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hard Day's Night, 4 Jan 2002
This review is from: Night Sessions (Audio CD)
Confession being good for the soul I will admit to a certain sense of apprehensiveness when purchasing Chris Botti's " Night Sessions ". Having viewed him on Sting's "....All This Time " concert in Tuscany I knew virtually nothing else of this amazing trumpeter. And, upon seeing the disc at a local record store, with a photo of the artist staring coyingly back at me ( with shirt strategically left half unbuttoned! ) I thought, ' wonderful, another pretty boy searching for this fifteen minutes of fame'. Well, once again proving that you can't always judge a book by it's cover I nevertheless picked up a copy and steadied myself.
While firmly placing Chris ( we'll keep this on a first name basis ) in the 'smooth jazz' genre he tends to fall somewhere between Herb Albert and Rick Braun when trying to describe his sound. Granted everything here is given a type of smooth, urban work-out but that certainly doesn't denigrate from the enjoyment of this disc. Chris tends to play in a fairly relaxed, subtle style that is generally hard to find in this style of jazz....and it's a welcome change. It's difficult to find musician's these days who don't feel the need to simply over-power his/her audience when pertaining to their craft! Thankfully though Chris Botti subscribes to the 'less is more' theory when playing his instrument.
Not wishing to bore anyone with my highlights I did want to state that two tracks " Light The Stars " and the wonderfully understated " Easter Parade " are almost revelatory in their almost whisper like softness and urgency. These two tracks alone may be well worth the price of this disc! Perhaps I should throw in " All Would Envy " a track written by Sting, with vocals by Shawn Colvin, a Bossa Nova number that reminded me so much of " The Girl From Ipanema "....and that's not a 'bad thing' either. Granted, if you're going to 'borrow' from another artist ( in this case Jobim ) than you might as well make it a classic!
Overall, this is the type of disc you'll find yourself putting on after a rather difficult day at work ( is there any other! ) and with a glass of wine in hand settling into your favorite chair for a small escape. I've owned my copy for only two weeks but have found that a day ( or night! ) doesn't go by that I don't find myself enjoying it. It's truly that good! And, speaking only for myself, after ' a hard day's night' that can be a real blessing. Enjoy
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 26, 2012 6:44 PM GMT


Up Up & Away: Definitive 2 CD
Up Up & Away: Definitive 2 CD

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Guilty Pleasure........., 8 Oct 2001
It should be understood right at the beginning that the Fifth Dimension is unjustly "pigeion-holded" as a strictly MOR, easy -listening vocal pop group. Nothing could be simply further from the truth.
A group with this much talent actually defies catagorization. Switching effortlessly from soul to pop to vocalese is something few other bands are capable of. Granted there's nothing here that would be considered ground-breaking but so what! Songs such as "One Less Bell", " Last Night" and " Stoned- Soul Picnic" are still considered classics and are just now beginning to find a new audience with each new generation. Call it retro if you'd like but there is a certain "coolness" that comes into vogue here. Or perhaps it's simply listening to a group that really knows it strengths and isn't afraid of pronouncing them.
All in all a wonderful two disc set.! A better collection of blue-eyed soul you'll never find! Plus,you'll now know where Swing-Out Sister, Style Council and current Brit "popsters" learned their chops. Go ahead and splurge on this set....not only is worth the price of admission but you'll be a true trend-setter. But we already knew that. ENJOY!!


The Very Best of Gerald Albright
The Very Best of Gerald Albright

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth as a baby's......well, you know, 27 July 2001
This review should come with a warning! If I begin to overpraise "the Very Best of Gerald Albright" it's only because I simply find this disc to be so smooth and sensual. Trust me.....this man could even teach Paul Hardcastle a thing or two about Smooth Jazz!
Every song on this cd is an exercise in relaxing,mellow and ultimately sensual sax. Gerald simply doesn't play each song as the original artist had previously recorded but makes these songs his very own as well. Don't believe me? You listen to his version of "My,My,My" and then try to remember who had originally recorded it! Believe me, it won't be easy!
This cd is perfect for those evenings at home when you're in the mood for a little closeness, a little intimacy and a lot of....well,you tell me! A little advice Ladies...put this on with "Babyface-a collection of his greatest hits" and greet your man when he comes home. A wonderful time will be had by all!
Lord knows what will happen next!


Classics In The Key Of G
Classics In The Key Of G
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 7.31

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like it or not....., 12 July 2001
Like it or not there is a place in the world for this type of music and while it is easy to dismiss him (perhaps too easy!) this disc is actually, taken on it's own merits, quite enjoyable. He generally does faithful versions on all these tacks, stand-outs being "Look Of Love", "Desafinado" and "The Girl From Ipanema" so while there are no surprises there is a certain warm and fuzzy feeling one gets from this disc. Something to put on while peddling about the house or if you've guests coming over....something that set's a tone.
In the end, a disc such as this does not require much from the listener...other than understanding that this is not intended as groundbreaking jazz by any means. More than anything it's music to relax to, perhaps hum along and wonder... what ever happened to that one special girl that got away, a long,long time ago....


El Alma Al Aire [German Import]
El Alma Al Aire [German Import]
Price: 6.35

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fate.......don't fail me now!!, 12 July 2001
Do you believe in fate? Up until the day I stumbled across Alejandro Sanz's "El Alma Al Aire" I suspect I did not! I had originally borrowed a copy of this disc from the local library and to this day I'm not sure what possessed me to bring it home. Obviously, I'm thanking my lucky stars above for that spur of the moment decision.This cd is simply amazing! Upon first listen I was stunned by the complex arrangements and the emotional depth of each track. Songs such as "Quisiera Ser","Para Que Me Quieras" and "Silencio" have such strong, unforgettable melodies. Anyway, this disc has rarely left my turntable since running out to buy my own copy the very next day.
It's always a wonderful feeling when you find an artist of this caliber and get so excited that you tell all your friends and play it for them so they too can enjoy your new discovery! So be the first on your block....run (don't walk) to your nearest record store,pick up your copy,plus his previous cd "Mas", and influence your friends and family! This way everyone shall know what a trend-setter you truly are! But we knew that!!


La Historia
La Historia
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: 6.49

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another guilty pleasure......, 7 July 2001
This review is from: La Historia (Audio CD)
I need to make this clear from the outset...I am NOT nor have I ever been a Ricky Martin fan! While I'm certain that he has a "fair amount" of musical talent his recordings in English have always left me comparing him as this generation's answer to Desi Arnez!.And if you're too young to remember Desi...not to worry! Having said that I will now proceed to eat my words....well, at least in part. This disc was actually given to me as a gift and at first listen I was prepared for the worst. Surprise!!Not half way through I too was shaking my Bon Bon (not really!) but I was impressed with the variety and the honesty of the cd.He generally sounds as if he is actually enjoying himself...which cannot be said for his cd's sung in English,which often sound forced. For those not aware this is a compilation of Ricky's five cd's in Spanish and a sprinkling of "Sound Loaded". Altogether a very nice mixture with ballads such as "Vuelva" and "Bella" sounding very heartfelt and natural. Plus, the disc does clock in at almost sevety-seven minutes worth of music! In ending,while I'm not completely sold on Mr. Martin I must admit his Spanish discs are extremely melodic and genuine. It's a shame he can't translate that into his current catalogue of English cd's. No pun intended! Go ahead and get it....your secret is safe with me!


Marc Anthony
Marc Anthony
Offered by Music-Shop
Price: 12.44

4.0 out of 5 stars Ummm.......where have I heard this before?, 7 July 2001
This review is from: Marc Anthony (Audio CD)
I had originally purchased this disc on the strength of "I Need To Know", an uptempo single that was quite a hit for Marc here in the States.That being the case I quickly found that the ballads on this disc are his real strong suit. Songs such as "Am I The Only One" and "My Baby You" resonate well with the MOR crowd and the disc continues to sell well despite it having been out for two years now. Overall, although there is some filler material on here and some of the numbers have been severly overproduced the album is still extrememly melodic and well-thought out. I found myself,after only one listen,humming along as if I knew all the songs by heart....already! I wonder if that's good...or bad! Nevertheless, it's a nice disc and Marc Anthony has a strong enough voice so while it holds no surprises it certainly is very enjoyable as well. Plus, I'm not certain about the import to U.K. but the American version has an additional two songs...."I Need To Know" and "She's Been Good To Me" performed in Spanish! Obviously the way to go if looking for those little extras!And aren't we all! Enjoy!


Marc Anthony
Marc Anthony
Offered by Music-Shop
Price: 12.44

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ummm.......where have I heard this before?, 7 July 2001
This review is from: Marc Anthony (Audio CD)
I had originally purchased this disc on the strength of "I Need To Know", an uptempo single that was quite a hit for Marc here in the States.That being the case I quickly found that the ballads on this disc are his real strong suit. Songs such as "Am I The Only One" and "My Baby You" resonate well with the MOR crowd and the disc continues to sell well despite it having been out for two years now. Overall, although there is some filler material on here and some of the numbers have been severly overproduced the album is still extrememly melodic and well-thought out. I found myself,after only one listen,humming along as if I knew all the songs by heart....already! I wonder if that's good...or bad! Nevertheless, it's a nice disc and Marc Anthony has a strong enough voice so while it holds no surprises it certainly is very enjoyable as well.


Vivo
Vivo
Price: 7.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars here to bring you the best in Latin Pop......, 5 July 2001
This review is from: Vivo (Audio CD)
Let's be honest...I truly wanted to like this disc more than I do! As to why...I'm not really sure. Luis Miguel has consistently put out quality Latin pop/romantic music. Nothing less than top notch but....every time I listen to "VIVO" I get the impression that somethng is being held back. Don't misunderstand me, Luis is in fine voice and the song selection is good although with his lengthy back catalogue it would be difficult to touch upon everything he has done. That being said "VIVO" is still a wonderful disc and a great introduction to what Luis is all about. Be forewarned though...he is primarilly known as a "ballad singer" and while that is his strong suit he does a great job on uptempo songs such as "Quiero" and "Suave".The highlights are, of course, the three Romantic Medleys. I will still highly recommend this disc to anyone who longs for mature, well-thought out and ,yes,at times even danceable Latin Pop!Who would have thought!! Plus, the packaging of the disc is extremely well done. All LUIS, All THE TIME!! ENJOY....I suspect you will!


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