on 30 July 2004
A Man Called Adam have been creating their own brand of sublime, uplifting music for over 15 years, and have outlasted many of the musical labels they've been tagged with, whether it be jazz, balearic, house, or 'chill-out' music. Whilst this compilation encompasses all of these genres, it demonstrates that the Sally Rodgers/Steve Jones songwriting partnership deserves recognition for producing some truly great moments in popular music.
Chief amongst these, for me anyway, is Barefoot In The Head, a song I can remember listening to as a teenager, and which still transports me to foreign beaches when I hear it now. An acoustic version opens proceedings, and I have to say, adds a whole new dimension to the song, with Sally Rodgers' lucid vocals re-shaping those wonderfully considered lyrics.
Four of the strongest tracks from the Duende album are included: Easter Song, Estelle, Que Tal America and All My Favourite People. These are the tracks that most people will know, and which have been made famous by inclusion upon countless chill-out compilations. But beyond those are a dozen more gems, with personal favourites being People Rule, Heaven Now, and Sun and the Sky.
Fans of A Man Called Adam will find this album to be the perfect collection of their music, and well worth buying (although I think So You Say ought to have been included as well); those who are unfamiliar with their music should do themselves a big favour and buy this. I promise it won't leave your stereo (or your head) for a long time to come.
on 23 August 2006
A Man Called Adam announced their presence rather dramatically in 1990 with the inimitable early house classic "Barefoot in the head", the influence of which cannot be overstated. Further releases, such as "Bread love and dreams" and "I want to know", cemented their reputation as darlings of the burgeoning balearic scene. Their debut album, "The apple", represented a cornerstone in the evolution of dance music as we know it. Following the runaway success of the "The apple", A Man Called Adam maintained a relatively low profile, both production and remix-wise, returning in 1998 with another masterpiece, this time in the shape of "Duende". Featuring several of their hallmark productions, including the lilting "Easter song" and achingly beautiful "Estelle", "Duende" witnessed A Man Called Adam fuse furious latinesque beats (a la "Que tal america?" - a track Bob Sinclar or Salome De Bahia would be proud to call their own) with more sedate ambient offerings such as the plodding "Wouldn't she" and the guitar driven balearica of "All my favourite people". "All my favourite things" is, by and large, a retrospective of A Man Called Adam's finest works, laced with new offerings. Released on the ever progressive Southern Friend label in 2004, "All my favourite things" was the outfit's first full length album in six years. Featured alongside back catalogue staples such as "Techno powers", "Easter song" and "All my favourite people" is a plethora of new material, including the melancholy "Love forgotten", the first track to be touted as single. "Yachts" is another masterpiece, to which Sally Rodgers' ethereal vox are entirely suited when layered over the jutting jazzy backdrop of Chris Coco's production. Further highlights include the cerebral masterpiece "The sun in the sky", which, so ardent in its brilliance, harkens back to the halcyon days of both "The apple" and "Duende". "Earth sings" and "Six more days" venture further into the balearic territory with which AMCA are synonymous, with the truly captivating Ibiza bound "No distance" bringing up the rear. Of the 17 tracks featured on the disc, several appear superfluous ("Steady" and "Superman" spring to mind) - not because they're poor productions, but due to the fact that both tracks simply sound banal when sandwiched between the pioneering electronic fusions of "Barefoot in the head" (featured here in a new acoustic format) and the aforementioned "Estelle". All in all an excellent retrospective showcasing the immeasurably talent of one of dance music's exceptional and most underrated talents.