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31.7.11

Spaced Out



Spaced Out - Eponymus II - 2001 - Unicorn Records

The follow-up to 2000's self-titled release, this one shows the group staying true to the sound of that album while still making progress toward expanding their sound. The disc wanders a bit more into the world of progressive rock while still maintaining their fusion sort of sound. In fact, this one at times really leans a bit toward the Red era of King Crimson. Granted, that refers to fairly brief and sporadic segments of the album, but the sound is there. Along with that sound is a continuation of the fusion-oriented modes begun on the first album, and even some traditional jazz sounds. As many of the fusion sort of groups are wont to do, this disc can get a bit noodly and wander a bit. Still, if you are into the instrumental prog stylings that lean toward fusion, perhaps this is an album for you. In saying that this album is instrumental, that even is not completely accurate. That is how difficult this band is to pigeonhole. In fact, the early portions of the album feature some spoken-word vocals that are stopped by a firm, "Stop talking!," and a bit of the later section features a non-lyrical chorale sort of vocal arrangement. Still, the disc overall is composed of non-vocal arrangements. It gets quite adventurous at times, and is not for those who are faint at heart in terms of experimentation, but it really shows a group of musicians who are on top of their game. © Gary Hill © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved. http://www.allmusic.com/album/eponymous-ii-r542414/review

Here it is, the second album by Spaced Out. Another great effort by this excellent Canadian band that will please fans of complex music and excellent craftsmanship. Those of you who remember last years self-titled debut album will be very pleased by this successor. All the familiar ingredients are back, but this time the band has taken their compositions to a different level. The band is still fairly young, founded in 1998 in Montreal. The line-up is unchanged so if any musician on the debut album appealed to you there'll be more on this here disk for you too! Those of you new to the band: beware... This music is by no means easy listening! The rhythm changes are countless, and the music largely leans on odd-beat riffs and complex melodies your ears and mind will have to get used to. And an open mind is certainly needed in order to sit through this record. Credited as full members on this one are Eric St-Jean (Keyboard), Antoine Fafard (Bass), Louis Cote (Electric Guitar) and Martin Maheux on drums. Mathieu Bouchard, credited as a full band member on the debut is still around as an additional musician on several tracks. Other musicians include Michel Deslauriers, Jason Martin, Jean-Pierre Dodel and Ronald Stewart. The songs were written by Mr. Fafard, who co-wrote "Infinite Ammo" together with Martin Maheux. Also the record was produced by Mr. Fafard. Very talented guy! There is so much room for all musicians to play their best, it's unbelievable. My personal pleasure in listening to this band is the rhythm section. There is so much going on in there; you can listen to it over and over and keep discovering new aspects of their amazing playing. Tasteful addition of narration, vocals and a tenor saxophone on "Jamosphere" make for some interesting diversions from the overall sound. Spaced Out have pleasantly surprised me by creating yet another masterpiece in contemporary music. I am not going to shove Spaced Out in any genre. Spaced Out *is* a genre. © Eef Vink © RockNet.nl http://www.spacedoutmusic.com/Reviews/rocknet2.htm

PROLOGUE: Time goes by like lightning, that's true, but this group's story is another thing altogether. Just eight months have passed by since the Spaced Out debut album was released (in September 2000), yet another new album by this excellent Canadian band is already out. Actually, Spaced Out would have released their second studio album two month ago except for a delay on the part of a factory that was pressing their CD. Now, with two wonderful 55-minute albums offered up to the Progressive world in just eight months, Spaced Out is, probably, the only time-breaking record-holder (the word "record" has two meanings here) in the contemporary Progressive Rock movement. In this connection, I've immediately recalled the old and good (old'n'gold) years of the first half of the 1970s when lots of the bands, being deeply inspired by that wonderful first wave of the Progressive Music movement, easily had time to release two (sometimes even three) albums a year . By the way, the first edition of the Spaced Out self-titled debut album has been sold out for some time; the second edition of this CD was made available for sale by Unicorn Records since the beginning of the summer. Congratulations go to both the band and the people at the label whose CD-catalogue so far consists only of excellent works and masterpieces. THE ALBUM: Firstly, I'd like to let you know that the band's second album is more progressive than its predecessor, so "Eponymus II", without a doubt, should attract a lot of potentially new Spaced Out fans from the Classic Progressive camp. Secondly, all the old and new fans of the band will be more than amazed with the mind-blowing, fantastic musicianship of all the band members (and guests, too), as well as with their joint performance on the band's second album. Thirdly, it's great that the keyboard player is featured on more tracks of "Eponymus II" (only two compositions on the debut album featured keyboards). The first three compositions are the real progressive killers, having less jazzy elements than in any other remaining pieces on "Eponymus II". What's more, Infinity Ammo, The Lost Train, and especially Sever the Seven are filled with all those things that are essential in creating a truly progressive work. Each of these three pieces amaze with extremely frequent and very unexpected changes of the musical directions, a lot of diverse and complex arrangements, and totally unpredictable developmental compositional techniques . Also, these pieces project tense and dramatic feels. I didn't expect to hear such specific emotions in the music of Spaced Out. Wonderful is the word. Well, it's time to move farther. The same essential attributes of progressive music (in its general meaning this time, - not in the 'classic' one), that I mention above, are typical for the majority of compositions of this album. Apart from the three already described (classic progressive) pieces, the remaining tracks consist of: Trophallaxie, Sever the Seven (Revisited) and both the "spherical" ones (the last two tracks) - Glassosphere (Part II) and Jamosphere. Only these two "Spheres" contain classic progressive arrangements and they're adeptly intermixed with jazzy bass and guitar solos / improvisations. The fifth and the sixth compositions are also full of such specifically progressive ingredients as unusual time signatures and rises and falls of different themes and arrangements, though these two pieces represent the fusion of Jazz Rock and Spacey Progressive structures. As always on this album, all these musical changes and events happen on a very "slippery" musical base (I just cannot call it "background") that consists of complex, illogical, often atonal and, at the same time, very tense acrobatics of Antoine Fafard's bass guitar. Each of the musicians demonstrate brilliant musicianship throughout the album. Quirky, intricate guitar solos by Louis Cote are as impressive as is the uniquely diverse drumming by Martin Maxeux. The bass lines, moves and solos by Antoine Fafard, however, are the most special elements on the album. The bass guitar plays not just a prominent role on "Eponymus II"; it is the leading instrument on the CD and it is wonderful to hear how masterly other musicians tat their laces-movements around the constantly changing fantastic bass traceries - the real acrobatic tricks of the bass. By the way (fortunately!), Eric St-Jean is the only musician here whose parts on "Eponymus II" are almost always played in the treble sonata clef (it seems to me that most of them were specially written out by Antoine). That's why this album as a whole sounds more progressive than the band's self-titled debut. And this is true despite the fact that the other four compositions of this album have little to do with Progressive as we see it. (I have discussed two of these pieces earlier in this review.) The two remaining tracks are not part of the the aforesaid majority (can you still remember it?) and each of them sound quite independent from the rest of the tracks on the "Eponymus II", and, in addition, sound quite different from each other. While For the Trees Too almost entirely consists of jazzy improvisations and improvisation-like solos of bass and guitar, the largest part of The Alarm is filled with the diverse interplays between the various percussive instruments and the real drum kit. Finally, using the voices in spacey (exactly) episodes sounds innovative and effective. As for a couple sax jazzy solos on the last track, they sound good, though I am not sure that adding them just (and only) at the end of the album was necessary. SUMMARY: After the first listening to the Spaced Out second album, it's already become clear that the band has grown heavily since their debut album - both compositionally and technically, though their debut album was really an excellent debut in the Progressive taking into account the fact that Spaced Out was formed just a couple years ago and has no history nor even biography that could be related to some pre-Spaced Out formations or bands, the reviews for which the hero of this review has completed. In other words, the band's maturity developed extremely quickly as evidenced by the absolute masterpiece the second Spaced Out album has turned out to be and which, moreover, has been created during such a short space of time (at least relative to the last decade). Also, with the "Eponymus II" album, Spaced Out has just confirmed that they are currently not only a hallmark of one of the chief Progressive Rock genres, but also, most likely, a leading contemporary Jazz-Fusion band within the frame of the progressive sense of said terminology (according to the real meaning of the word Fusion: Confluence). In respect to this meaning, Spaced Out's "Eponymus II" album can be described as the Confluence of Jazz-Rock and Classic Symphonic Progressive. © VM. July 29, 2001 © http://www.progressor.net/review/spaced_out_2001.html

Spaced Out is a quartet that hails from Montreal, Canada. This is Spaced Out’s 2nd effort. The music comes right at you full throttle. The music is described as jazz-rock progressive and all instrumental. The bands members include Antoine Fafard bass player and composer, Martin Maheux on drums, Louis Cote on electric guitars and Eric St-Jean on keyboards. It was recorded at Illusion III, L’Astronef & Cyberlogy “ Intensite” studio and mixed by Antoine Fafard. The bombastic playing style of Antoine Fafard drives the music. Antoine Fafard delivers some of the most intensive bass picking that we have ever heard on bass. Antoine Fafard never overplays or overshadows the music by himself. The rest of the band complements the music with great guitar riffs and superb drumming and to smooth it all out the keyboards delivers cascading progressive passages. The group never trips over themselves. The compositions are very structured and out of this the players are free to express their style through improvised solo sections, which leaves the music with a jazzy, feel. Spaced Out delivers 9 quintessential tracks that will quench your hunger for an acquisition. Track#2; The Lost Train, was our favorite track- remarkably even the song title actually goes with the music. You will see what we mean when you hear the music. Go check it out. If Spaced Out is any indication that the marriage with Jazz and Progressive music is merging more and more then this is a perfect example of it. We highly recommend this CD, especially for fans that love bass players. Prog4you rates this album 9 out of 10 keyboards- Great stuff people!
Reviewer & © George Roldan Review Date: 08/03/01 © Prog4you.com http://www.prog4you.com/cd-reviews--/spaced_out_eponymos_ii_.htm

SPACED OUT: Eponymus ll 2001 (CD. 53:25): Llnicom UNCR-5003 Style: Zeuhl fusion. Sound: *** Composition **** Musicianship *** Performance **** Total rating: 14. You’ve never heard anything quite like Spaced Out, a French Canadian quartet. Their version of Zeuhl fusion suggests a strange hybrid of Weidorje or Jean-Paul Prat, sans horns, and Return to Forever, with occasional Emersonian keyboards, and then some. There is even a bit of minimalism in the appropriately titled "Glassosphere — Part ll.", suggesting an outtake from Akhnaten with Philip Glass-style repetitive arpeggios. Antoine Fafard uses Jannick Tops style as a springboard for his bass stylings, with savage power and that famous buzzing sound. Other influences include Jaco Pastorius and especially Stanley Clarke. Guitarist Louis Cote is a mighty impressive virtuoso at times reminiscent of the late Tiemko's Remy Chauvidan. However, this writer found his extreme treble tone, like the brilliant high end of a wah wah pedal, used to excess. Still, Cote‘s technical and musical chops are dazzling. Eric St. Jean's juxtaposes weird Magmoid harmonies with occasional Keith Emerson style (faux) Hammond organ, replete with angular melodies and stabbing, staccato chords. Martin Maheux’s brilliant fusion style drumming can be compared to Paga‘s Claude Salmieri. This is one hot band. © Dean Suzuki

Call it New Age, jazz rock, or progressive jazz fusion, this album has a lot to offer. There are complex rhythm patterns, eclectic melodies and innovative and exploratory arrangements throughout the album, and musicianship is outstanding. Some of the band's influences include Igor Stravinksy, John Mclaughlin, Trevor Rabin, Keith Emerson, and Frank Zappa. N.B: [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 124 Mb]. Listen to the band's "Slow Gin" and "Evolution" albums

TRACKS

1 Sever the Seven 8:56
2 The Lost Train 6:20
3 Infinite Ammo 4:17
4 For The Trees Too 4:55
5 Trophallaxie 5:57
6 Sever The Seven - Revisited 5:33
7 The Alarm 3:58
8 Glassosphere, Pt. 2 5:31
9 Jamosphere 7:50

All music composed by Antoine Fafard except "Infinite Ammo" by Antoine Fafard & Martin Maheux

MUSICIANS

Louis Côté - Electric Guitar
Mathieu Bouchard - Electric Guitar on Tracks 6, 7 & 9 [Guest]
Jean-Pierre Dodel - Electric Guitar on Track 9 [Guest]
Michel Deslauriers - Acoustic Guitar on Tracks 1 & 8: Voice on Tracks 6 & 8 [Guest]
Antoine Fafard - Electric Bass
Éric St-Jean - Keyboards
Martin Maheux - Drums
Ronald Stewart - Tenor Sax on Track 9 [Guest]
Jason Martin - Voice/Narration on Tracks 1 & 5 [Guest]

SHORT BIO

A product of Montreal, Spaced Out began in 1998, formed by Antoine Fafard. He recruited Martin Maheux, Mathieu Bouchard, and Eric St-Jean to complete the lineup. The group began producing their brand of jazz-oriented progressive rock, borrowing from people across the musical landscape. In fact, they list influences as diverse as Igor Stravinksy, John Mclaughlin, Trevor Rabin, Keith Emerson, and Frank Zappa. In the year 2000, Unicorn Records released the band's self-titled debut. After that album was released, however, Bouchard quit the group and was replaced by Louis Cote. Eponymus II, the follow-up release, came out in 2001. © Gary Hill © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/spaced-out-p484021/

MORE

Spaced Out is the brainchild of bassist & composer Antoine Fafard. He formed the band in 1998 by recruiting Martin Maheux on drums, Mathieu Bouchard on guitar, and Eric St-Jean on the keyboards. From here onwards, the group began producing their brand of jazzoriented progressive rock, whilst being inspired by a variety of musical styles along the way. In the year 2000, Unicorn Records released the band's self-titled debut 'Spaced Out'. Following this album, Bouchard left the group and was replaced by Louis Côté. In 2001, the album 'Eponymus II' was released bringing with it a more progressive sound compared to the previous CD; allowing room for musical experiments and exploration. In June 2002 Spaced Out participated at the prestigious North East Art Rock Festival(NEARfest) in Trenton NJ performing to an audience of 1850 people. The band's performance was received with great enthusiasm, raising Spaced Out's popularity to another level. The 'Slow Gin' album was released in March 2003 and was the result of a more progressive direction. In late 2005, the 'Spaced Out - Live in 2000' DVD presented one of Spaced Out’s first concerts. The following album entitled 'Unstable Matter' was released in July 2006. That record pushed Spaced Out’s music even further through its musical compositions, musicianship & production quality. After a performance at the Crescendo Festival in France in August 2006, the band released a CD and DVD of the concert and started to compose music for the next album entitled 'Evolution' which will be launched at the FMPM on the 13th of September 2008. Spaced Out offers a style of music where aspects such as rhythm, harmony and melody have been carefully thought out and composed with the goal of bringing this style to life. Through the well structured forms, the players are free to express their personality with improvised solos. In their repertoire, polyrhythmic patterns combined with modal colors form a unique music which is instantly recognisable. Influences from musicians and composers from the jazz, rock, metal & contemporary music world have played a big part in the music created and produced by S O. The level of intensity produced by this instrumental music band is to such a high degree, that the listener is undoubtedly left spellbound. © http://www.spacedoutmusic.com/Bio.htm

AND MORE !

Spaced Out... Two words that can mean different things to different people. But to a certain Antoine Fafard, the meaning lies somewhere, in musical form, in the depths of his twisted mind. Self proclaimed "Prince of Ambiguity" (that's how he introduces himself in concert!), Antoine only recently introduced the world to his own brand of "everything-but-the-kitchen-sink" type of music. But by ignoring pop music clichés, music industry standards and pretty much everything else in the music business, he's gone ahead and created something he can call his own. Complex rhythm patterns, eclectic melodies and innovative arrangements have molded his musical vision into what are the two albums that have seen the light of day so far. But he is not alone in the entity that is Spaced Out, and their story can be traced back to a place far, far away (Montreal!!), a long, long time ago (1994!!) to a band called Cortex. Antoine, still in his teens, was studying and playing bass guitar when he and his older brother Olivier, a drummer, put a band together with school mate Mathieu Bouchard on guitar. Cortex, as they called themselves, played a few gigs but were more interested in getting their music on tape when Antoine and Mathieu realised their similarities in song ideas. Between 1994 and 1996, the trio recorded 3 demos, the third being "Trophallaxie", a song that would eventually end up on SO's second album. Band name changes occurred before they settled on 'Spaced Out' and line-up changes soon followed. After the third demo, the trio became a quintet when Eric St-Jean was drafted. into play keyboards (sequencers had been used up until then) and Vincent Pellerin on board with his sax. Soon after, Vincent announced his departure as did Olivier, who wanted to pursue other musical interests. Benoit Verdant came as in Olivier's replacement but his stay was brief, serving only to inspire the song "Green Teeth" (1st album). After shelving SO for a couple of months, the lads got back together for a stint of live dates. Olivier was back behind the kit but Eric was unavailable,so it was back to the original trio using sequencers once again. Another 2 song demo was recorded before Olivier said good-buy for the second time. The year is now 1998 and a new drummer is again needed. Antoine invites another of his school mates to join his project, to replace his brother. Martin Maheux, also studying music, had just quit local French pop group Fouille-moé after doing session work on their first and only album. With a lot of studio experience under his belt, Martin accepts the invitation and new material is rehearsed. A brand new 6 song demo is recorded and is to be used as a calling, card. Realizing the good sound quality of the demo, the band decides it would become the bands 1st official album and Antoine duly sets up a web site to promote it and the band. Though initial sales were minimal, it did however spark the interest of a small independent local progressive label, Unicorn Records. Before a deal with the label was inked in 1999, the band was again put on hiatus. Martin went on a national tour with franco-Saskatchewan pop act PolyEsther and Antoine was involved in music for T .V. production. When they did get back together to sign the dotted line with Unicorn, a few small details had to be ironed out. Firstly, Mathieu Bouchard was no longer in the band. Secondly, four new songs were to be added to the original six that made up the demo to create the first official first album. Still with me?? Louis Coté was brought on board to take over Mathieu's guitar duties and Éric St-Jean returned to the fold as permanent keyboard player .The results of all this work could finally be heard in the fall of 2000 when Unicorn Records released the first official fifth album, 'Spaced Out' and the world was introduced to a new and quite original band. It must be highlighted that SO is the second band to have been signed up with the Unicorn Records' label after Mystery, label-founder Michel St-Père's progressive rock group. Local gigs followed and record sales slowly grew. Not one to sit quietly and while away the hours, Antoine started writing new material (including one song with Martin Maheux, now Antoine's right- hand man) and recording for the second album began in the winter of 2001. Gigs and a few more gigs. Antoine and Louis to show-off their talents on 'Missing Link' , the first album by local metal outfit Sweet Distortion. July 2001 sees the release of S O's second album 'Eponymus II' and more shows are lined up. But Louis's hectic schedule prevents him from doing the shows so Sweet Distortion's Marc Tremblay takes his place. Fast forward to fall of 2001 and you'll find Antoine again writing new material for a 2002 release. Always instrumental but with new sounds. Martin is also in the process of putting the final touches on a solo jazz album, 'The Physics of Light' , which should come out in 2002. The story so far ... Written by & © Timm Kerwin, Sound Engineer, December 2001 © http://www.spacedoutmusic.com/TimmBio2001.html

Lucy Kaplansky



Lucy Kaplansky - Over The Hills - 2007 - Red House

Today, Lucy Kaplansky is one of acoustic music's most respected and intelligent songwriters. She is also a great vocalist. "Over The Hills" is a beautifully produced album which fuses rock, folk, country and pop. Her style is often reminiscent of the great and vastly underrated Americana/folk rock artist James McMurtry. Lucy is backed by artists including guitarists Duke Levine, Ben Wittman, and also the extraordinarily gifted musician, Jon Herington on acoustic and electric guitar. Five of the ten tracks are collaborations with Richard Litvin. The other five tracks include June Carter & Merle Kilgore's "Ring Of Fire", Loudon Wainwright III's "Swimming Song", Julie Miller's "Somewhere Trouble Don't Go", Ian Tyson's "Someday Soon", and an unusual cover of Bryan Ferry's "More Than This". This is a really good album, from a very talented lady. [ All tracks @ 160 Kbps: File size = 46.4 Mb]. Lucy's albums, "The Tide", "Flesh and Bone", and "The Red Thread" can be found on this blog. Buy her great "Ten Year Night" album and support real music

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

1 Manhattan Moon - Lucy Kaplansky & Richard Litvin
2 Amelia - Lucy Kaplansky & Richard Litvin
3 More Than This - Bryan Ferry
4 Ring of Fire - June Carter & Merle Kilgore
5 Swimming Song - Loudon Wainwright III
6 Today's the Day - Lucy Kaplansky & Richard Litvin
7 Over The Hills - Lucy Kaplansky & Richard Litvin
8 Somewhere Trouble Don't Go - Julie Miller
9 Someday Soon - Ian Tyson
10 Gift - Lucy Kaplansky & Richard Litvin

MUSICIANS

Lucy Kaplansky - acoustic guitar, vocals, background vocals
Duke Levine - acoustic 12-string guitar, electric guitar, National steel guitar, mandola, mandolin
Ben Wittman - electric 12-string guitar, 12-string guitar, organ, harmonium, drums, floor tom, percussion
Jon Herington - acoustic & electric guitar
Larry Campbell - acoustic guitar
Stephan Crump - acoustic & electric bass
Charlie Giordano - accordion
Eliza Gilkyson, Jonatha Brooke, Richard Shindell, Buddy Miller - background vocals

BIO

When Lucy Kaplansky was 18 years old, she shocked her neighbors in the Hyde Park area near the University of Chicago when, instead of going to college, she went to New York City with her boyfriend to become a folksinger. Fifteen years later, having become a clinical psychologist as well as a sought-after duet and harmony singer, she made another surprising decision: she gave up her private practice and her position at a New York hospital to pursue a full-time singing career. Drawn to Greenwich Village in the late '70s by the resurgence of the folk scene, she became a regular at Gerde's Folk City. By 1982, she was a member of the CooP (later Fast Folk) and was featured on nine of the group's "musical magazines," along with Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, John Gorka, Richard Shindell, and others. By 1983, however, Kaplansky had enrolled in New York University with the aim of becoming a psychologist. Well known on the folk scene for her crystalline harmonies, Kaplansky sang harmony vocals on Nanci Griffith's Lone Star State of Mind and Little Love Affairs albums and performed in New York clubs as a duo with Colvin while earning her Ph.D. from Yeshiva University. But when she and Colvin attracted attention from record companies, Kaplansky declined, becoming a staff psychologist at a New York hospital and establishing a private practice while Colvin recorded her first three albums for Columbia Records. As a record of what Lucy had accomplished on the folk scene, and to give Colvin a chance to try her hand at production, the two collaborated on Kaplansky's first album, The Tide, comprising three of Kaplansky's own compositions and a collection of well-worn covers, including songs by Richard Thompson, Sting, and Robin Batteau. By 1994, when The Tide was released by Red House Records, Kaplansky decided to shift gears again and become a full-time touring folksinger. She spent much of the next few years playing the folk circuit of coffeehouses, church halls, and festivals, accompanying herself on guitar and performing in concert with Shindell and Gorka. In 1996, Red House Records released her second album, Flesh and Bone, produced by Anton Sanko (Vega's Solitude Standing and Days of Open Hand). It includes eight original songs (co-written with Kaplansky's husband, filmmaker Richard Litvin), as well as duets with Shindell and Gorka. Ten Year Night followed in 1999. Every Single Day appeared in 2001 on Red House Records, with Red Thread in 2004 and Over the Hills in 2007, both also on Red House. © Claire Keaveney © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/lucy-kaplansky-p44854/biography

30.7.11

The Beautiful South



The Beautiful South - Painting It Red (Bonus Disc) - 2000 - Go! Discs/Mercury

Painting It Red is the seventh original album released by The Beautiful South in October 2000. The album is the band's joint longest, with 19 tracks. The bonus version contains 20 tracks (includes "White Teeth"), and sometimes comes in the format of two discs, while the American release offers only 17 tracks. The album made it to number 2 in the charts, but despite the number of tracks, only two singles were produced: "Closer Than Most", which reached number 22 in September and the double A-side "The River"/"Just Checkin'", which reached number 59 in December. - from WIKIPEDIA

The Beautiful South once again run aground with diminishing sales, bungled CD pressings, and -- probably the most troubling -- the reported departure of longtime vocalist Jacqueline Abbott. Still, the band had always managed to sound unflinchingly upbeat amidst bleak situations in the past, and Painting It Red comes off, in some ways, grinning more like an unsuspecting teenager than ever before. The band's staples of lyrical chicanery and mid-'80s inbred folk-pop are still lurking about apologizing to no one. Which might strike longtime listeners with the force of wet asparagus (what with predictably Heaton-esque lines like "Don't feel ever sorry for the dicks" or the kind of over-produced jangle this side of Orange Juice and Tears for Fears mud-wrestling for five hours, it's arguable the template has run its course), but -- nevertheless -- it can strike others of a band mastering their own roots. It's a challenge the album poses now and again. Single "Closer Than Most" is instantly likable, yet wouldn't be so out of step with Welcome to the Beautiful South. "You Can Call Me Leisure," a saucy, subtle duet rolling around on a bed of prancing pianos, is about as antagonistic to the band's discography as Menswear's "Daydreamer" is to Wire. But there's definitely something here that makes it hard to hate. This is a path much taken that still somehow promises rewards after ten years of traveling. Odd even while surrounded by new rumors of imminent breakup. If this marks the South's final statement, then so be it -- at least they went out with a blast of delusional air. © Dean Carlson © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/painting-it-red-r505753/review

A critically acclaimed and much loved album (At least in the UK!). On their seventh studio release, the great songwriting duo of David Rotheray & Paul Heaton once again manage to intertwine soul, R&B, and light jazz to create twenty beautifully crafted, melodic pop songs, many with sardonic, wry, witty, cynical but always intelligent lyrics. HR by A.O.O.F.C. Check out TBS's "Blue Is The Colour", and "Choke" albums on this blog, and listen to the band's classic pop jazz album "Welcome to the Beautiful South".

TRACKS

DISC ONE

1 Who's Gonna Tell 2:37
2 Closer Than Most 3:07
3 Just Checkin' 3:38
4 Hit Parade 3:45
5 Masculine Eclipse 3:55
6 'Til You Can't Tuck It In 3:30
7 If We Crawl 4:14
8 Tupperware Queen 3:34
9 Half-Hearted Get (Is Second Best) 4:24
10 White Teeth [Bonus Track] 4:50

DISC TWO

11 The River 5:43
12 Baby Please Go 2:46
13 You Can Call Me Leisure 4:31
14 Final Spark 5:03
15 10,000 Feet 3:02
16 Hot On The Heels Of Heartbreak 3:59
17 The Mediterranean 4:02
18 A Little Piece Of Advice 3:55
19 Property Quiz 3:50
20 Chicken Wings 4:29

All songs composed by David Rotheray & Paul Heaton

N.B: Some releases of this album contain only 17 tracks, and omit "Who's Gonna Tell", "White Teeth", & "Chicken Wings". Other issues contain 19 tracks, and exclude "White Teeth". All 20 tracks are on album posted here. [N.B: Tracks 1-10 (Disc 1) are @ 160 Kbps. Tracks 11-20 (Disc 2) are @ 96 Kbps with audio quality maintained: Pt 1 file size = 43.4 Mb, & Pt 2 = 27.3 Mb]

MUSICIANS

Guitar – David Rotheray
Bass – Sean Welch
Keyboards – Damon Butcher
Drums – David Stead
Vocals – David Hemingway, Jacqui Abbott, Paul Heaton

BIO

Following the disbandment of the British indie pop group the Housemartins in 1989, vocalist Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South. Where their previous group relied on jazzy guitars and witty, wry lyrics, the Beautiful South boasted a more sophisticated, jazzy pop sound, layered with keyboards, R&B-inflected female backing vocals and, occasionally, light orchestrations. Often, the group's relaxed, catchy songs contradicted the sarcastic, cynical thrust of the lyrics. Nevertheless, the band's pleasant arrangements often tempered whatever bitterness there was in Heaton's lyrics, and that's part of the reason why the Beautiful South became quite popular within its native Britain during the '90s. Though the group never found a niche in America -- by the middle of the decade, their records weren't even being released in the U.S. -- their string of melodic jazz-pop singles made them one of the most successful, if one of the least flashy, bands in Britain. Their popularity was confirmed by the astonishing success of their 1994 singles compilation, Carry on Up the Charts, which became one of the biggest-selling albums in British history. Heaton and Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South immediately after the breakup of the Housemartins, who were one of the most popular and well-reviewed British guitar pop bands of the mid-'80s. The Housemartins had earned a reputation for being somewhat downbeat Northerners, so the duo chose the name Beautiful South sarcastically. To complete the lineup, the pair hired former Anthill Runaways vocalist Briana Corrigan, bassist Sean Welch, drummer David Stead (formerly a Housemartins roadie), and guitarist David Rotheray, who became Heaton's new collaborator. In the summer of 1989, they released their first single, "Song for Whoever," on the Housemartins' old record label, Go!. "Song for Whoever" climbed to number two, while its follow-up "You Keep It All In" peaked at number eight in September, 1989. A month later, the group's debut, Welcome to the Beautiful South, was released to positive reviews. "A Little Time," the first single from the group's second album, Choke, became the group's first number one single in the fall of 1990. Choke was also well-received, even though it didn't quite match the performance of the debut, either in terms of sales or reviews. In particular, some critics complained that Heaton was becoming too clever and cynical for his own good. The Beautiful South released their third album, 0898, in 1992; it was their first record not to be released in the United States, yet it maintained their success in Britain. Following the release of 0898, Corrigan left the group, reportedly upset over some of Heaton's ironic lyrics. She was replaced with Jacqui Abbot, who made her first appearance on the band's fourth album, 1994's Miaow. While both 0898 and Miaow were popular, they were only moderate successes. Their respectable chart performances in no way prepared any observers, including the band themselves, for the blockbuster success of Carry on Up the Charts, a greatest-hits collection released at the end of 1994. Carry on Up the Charts entered the charts at number one. It was one of the fastest-selling albums in U.K. history and its success outlasted the Christmas season. The album stayed at number one for several months, going platinum many times over and, in the process, becoming one of the most popular albums in British history. Its success was a bit of a surprise, since the popularity of the Beautiful South's previous albums never indicated the across-the-boards success that greeted Carry on Up the Charts. The album wasn't released in America until late 1995, after it broke several U.K. records. The Beautiful South released their follow-up to Miaow, Blue Is the Colour, in the fall of 1996. Quench followed three years later, then Painting It Red in fall 2000, and Gaze in 2003. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-beautiful-south-p3647/biography

MORE ABOUT TBS

A band as well known for their gin-soaked cynicism as their catchy and lush pop melodies, the Beautiful South have had enormous impact in their native England, while success in America has been limited to cult status. Music critics on both shores and beyond, however, have praised the South and in particular, lyricist and singer Paul Heaton, for his cockeyed views on love, the music business, and whatever else comes up, as well as his and songwriting partner Dave Rotheray's innate ability to invent hummable tunes with irresistible pop hooks. Named for the not-so-beautiful debilitated neighborhoods of South London, their name, like their songs, is an exercise in irony. As Spin's Jonathon Bernstein observed, their music consists of "intricately constructed melodies serving as safe houses for bilious attacks on men and women—and that dumb, doomed dance they do together." Formed from the remnants of the breakup by the House martins, another cynical band, albeit with a more political bent, singer/songwriter Heaton, along with Housemartin drummer Dave Hemingway started the Beautiful South in 1989 in their hometown of Hull, a gray, working-class city in the north of England. With guitarist/songwriter Rotheray, bassist Sean Welch, drummer David Stead, and vocalist Brianna Corrigan, the South presented a more expansive musical playing field than what was offered in the Housemartins. With Hemingway, now a singer not a drummer, Corrigan, and Heaton, the band was able to move seamlessly through the vocal characterizations of three quite different lead vocalists. "Their voices," Parke Puterbaugh observed in Stereo Review, "one a croon of limited range [Heaton], the other more of a sing-speak [Hemingway]—are joined by Corrigan's girlish mouse-squeak and backed by a crack three-piece band of guitar, bass, and drums." SONGS FOR WHOEVER - The Beautiful South stormed out of the gate with their debut single, "Song For Whoever," a magnificently sardonic view of syrupy love songs which feature women's names as a protaganistic prop. Released in May of 1989, the song went to number two on the charts in the UK and marked a stellar introduction to the new band. The next single, "You Keep It All In," also a hit, featured all three vocalists bemoaning the stodgy, reserved tendencies of the British. Both songs appeared on their debut album, Welcome to the Beautiful South, released in October of 1989. "Make a list of qualities that define great pop music," People magazine's Michael Small suggested in his review, "and you've got a pretty fair description of the Beautiful South." The album did exceptionally well in England but received a cooler response in America, despite praise from the likes of Small and his colleagues. "They aren't yet a classic pop band," Spin's Tony Fletcher asserted, "but Welcome to the Beautiful South remains exactly that—a warm introduction to an enticing new proposition. Here's to the sequel." The sequel turned out to be 1990's Choke, an album that cemented their reputation as biting ironists. Stereo Review's Puterbaugh describes the album as a "mix of lyrical quirks and music-hall andcabaret-influenced pop.... [which] stops just shy of being cute and charming, however, and gives the songs here a devilishly droll edge." For their part, just before the album's release in an interview with Melody Maker, Heaton and Rotheray expressed some regret to being thought of as mere cynics. "It's just the way I write. Unfortunately," Heaton offered. "I'd like to be able to write just straight in some ways.... I think there's a bit of immaturity in the way I write actually." Hemingway confessed he didn't like that people saw the band as cynical. "I don't think we are," he said. "It's just that the bubble of unreality is there and there are not many people bursting it. So we took it upon ourselves to burst a few bubbles." ALCOHOLISM, NUDITY, ETC. - It was 1992's 0898 Beautiful South that had the most bubbles bursting. With 0898 being the English equivalent of America's 1-900 sex lines, the album opened with "Old Red Eyes Is Back, a lush and airy tale of alcoholism. Labeled a "pop album with fangs" by Stereo Review's Puterbaugh, he also declared "Old Red Eyes Is Back" as his nominee for song of the year, and commented on the song being "compassionate while noting the waste of a life. It is this kind of juxtaposition of serious themes and sunny music that makes the Beautiful South stand out from the pack, and 0898 Beautiful South contains a dozen songs that can equally be hummed, pondered, and puzzled over." Heaton, in an interview with Stuart Maconie of England's Q magazine, discussed "Old Red Eyes," asserting that it wasn't a morality tale. "It's looking at the more humorous and sad side of being drunk.... It sold respectably but the radio didn't really play it. I don't suppose they like songs about alcohol abuse." Another song from 0898, "36D," caused even more furor. Written about England's Page 3 girls, women who appear topless on the third page of some London tabloids, Heaton and Rotheray's intention was to attack the industry that supports it, not the women themselves, but mixed messages in the song reflected otherwise. "We all agree that we should have targeted the media as sexist instead of blaming the girls for taking off their tops," Hemingway admitted to Eric Puls of the Chicago Sun-Times. "It was a case of rushing headlong into the recording of the song." Vocalist Corrigan refused to sing on the song and when she left the band after the album's release, rumors intimated that it was the sexist lyrics of "36D" that prompted her exit. Corrigan said that may have been an impetus, but not the reason. "I left really because it was the right time for me to go, " she told Gary Crossing of England's The Big Issue. "My reservation about some of the lyrics became like a trigger to spur me on." Creative growth played a role as well, Corrigan admitted. "I'd always written songs for myself, but I knew there wasn't going to be an opportunity for that in the band. As a woman in this business you're always in a much stronger position if you perform your own stuff." Following the exodus of Corrigan, the band took some time off and returned with Miaow, a 1994 album featuring new vocalist Jacqueline Abbott, whom the band discovered singing at a party. While only available as an import in America, the album didn't fare well in England despite critical praise. After hearing the album Peter Paphides of Melody Maker declared "Heaton (not the smug, flat-capped curmudgeon we'd have you believe) oozes more humanity from his tiniest cuticle than any of the lemon-faced irony-challenged Americans we blindly laud."The small reception didn't seem to bother Heaton, however, confessing to Melody Maker's Sylvia Patterson, "Sales figures certainly aren't important to me, that's a dangerous way to think.... People know what I look like , they stilllike me and that's more important.... I'm genuinely happy I've enough money to go into a bar, buy another gin and tonic and people have enough time to give me a smile—that seems like a fair enough agreement." CARRYIN' ON UP THE CHARTS - Heaton and company wouldn't have to worry about record sales much longer. In November of 1994 Carry on Up the Charts-The Best of the Beautiful South was released and became the third fastest selling UK album of all time. At the same time, Heaton was questioning how much further he could go with the band. "I was feeling a bit unconvinced about me own future in music, " he told Patterson. "Because I just feel a bit old for it....I was just thinking how I'm not sure, as a singer-songwriter in a band, how long you can go in the pop industry. There are four songwriters I can think of, and they're all better than me, who started off in bands and went solo: Paul Weller, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, and Van Morrison. If I was gonna be like that I'd have to be a lot stronger in terms of personality and security than I am now. Right now, I can't even imagine going to New York by meself. I'm just Paul Heaton, I'm not able to do it. I haven't got the confidence." FOR THE RECORD. . .Members include Paul Heaton, vocals and song writer; Dave Rotheray, guitar and songwriter; Dave Hemingway, vocals; Brianna Corrigan (left band 1992), vocals; Sean Welch, bass; David Stead, drums; Jacqueline Abbott, (joined band 1993), vocals. Formed 1989 in Hull, England. Heaton and Hemingway had previously been in the band, the Housemartins, which disbanded 1989; released first album, Welcome to the Beautiful South, 1990; album received good reviews and the band toured America, 1990; released 0898 Beautiful South which contained the controversial song "36D," 1992; Corrigan left band, 1992; compilation, Carriy on Up the Charts-The Best of the Beautiful South, became third fastest selling album ever in the UK, 1994: Addresses: Record company—Polygram Records, 825 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10019: Towards the end of 1996 the band released Blue is the Colour, another album available only as an import in America. Jennifer Nine of Melody Maker described it as, "charming, subversively luscious business as usual." So it seems Heaton will carry on with the Beautiful South admitting to Patterson in 1995 that he's, "starting to write really good lyrics now. I'm starting to get proud." Not that he'd ever describe himself as a good songwriter, however. "Because I'm not," he told Patterson. "Because I'm not Otis Redding and I never will be." But Heaton does confess that the Beautiful South, aside from exploring the undiscovered hooks and melodies of pop, is furthering the mission begun by The Clash, The Jam, and the Sex Pistols. "It's all a question of putting people on the right train," he told Patterson, "telling them to watch out, there's things in people and society to be angry about." Additional information for this profile was obtained from the Beautiful South page from Polygram Records, www.polygram.com. © Brian Escamilla © 2011 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-musicians/beautiful-south-biography

The Beautiful South



The Beautiful South - Blue Is The Colour - 1996 - Go! Discs

Blue Is the Colour, released October 1996, is The Beautiful South's fifth original album following the two singles "Pretenders to the Throne" and "Dream a Little Dream", which never featured on any album until the release of the second greatest hits Solid Bronze in 2001. It was named after a pub in Sheffield. The album continued the melancholic tone of its predecessor Miaow, and is generally considered to be the band's darkest effort, reflecting Heaton's life at the time. This comes across in songs such as "Liar's Bar" (about alcoholism), "The Sound of North America" (a sarcastic look at capitalism), "Mirror" (Prostitution), "Blackbird on the Wire", "Have Fun" (which Heaton has cited as his saddest song), and the self-explanatory "Alone". The album spawned 4 singles, the first being "Rotterdam", which peaked at #5 in the charts in September 1996. The follow ups were "Don't Marry Her" which reached #8 in December, "Blackbird on the Wire", which got to #23 in March of 1997 and finally the single "Liar's Bar" which just missed the Top 40 in June. The lyrics to "Don't Marry Her" were substantially altered for radio release - changing from "Don't marry her, f**k me" to "Don't marry her, have me", and with "sweaty bollocks" becoming "Sandra Bullocks". On "Liars' Bar", Paul Heaton's vocal consciously imitates the style of Tom Waits. The album itself topped the album charts on November 2 1996. Some versions of the album come with a sticker saying "Track 1 contains some blue language which some people may find offensive" - from WIKIPEDIA

"Don't marry her... f**k me." Light, dreamy pop that includes lines like this may knock the listener over. An added feature is the various ways vocal duties are shared by Jacqueline Abbot, Dave Hemingway, and Paul Heaton. Finely produced, it should be noted that the knob-twiddler here was Jon Kelly (Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Tori Amos, Kate Bush). Beautiful South reminds one of the blunt simplicity of some of the Ann Magnuson-sung Bongwater, but much more accessible. Dulcet harmonies with casual bar talk rewritten as poetry. "Have fun/And if you can't have fun/Have someone else's fun." The songs here transform spite and hurt into tuneful gems. "The whole place is pickled/The people are pickles for sure/And no one knows if they've done more here/Than they would do in a jar." Yes, yes, yes. Next time your significant other does you significant pain, just put Blue Is the Colour on for a few spins. It will be more healing than a public drunk and save you any day-after embarrassment. © Tom Schulte © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/blue-is-the-colour-r245697

The "hard to please" music "critic", Robert Christgau (@ http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=The+Beautiful+South) gave this album an A rating, saying "Guitars vestigial, jokes brittle sometimes but no less funny, Paul Heaton's finest album evolves toward the calling he was born too late for: music hall. Like such northern stars as Dan Leno and George Formby Sr., he voices the sharp-witted resentments of working stiffs resigned to their lot. Or maybe not: from "Don't marry her, f**k me" to "Imagine a mirror/Bigger than the room it was placed in," a few women here see beyond the repressive depression of English suburban life, where one of two husbands drinks as much as Heaton and the other is as boring as Phil Collins--and the loners are tedious souses. The triumph in this vein is "Liars Bar," the greatest in a long line of drinking songs by the man who's said: "I consider myself a workaholic, it's just that I like to have a drink while I'm working." It comes with a video in which a disheveled Heaton leads a chorus of homeless drunks through a lurching soft shoe like a born variety artist. "I'm a standup comedian," he sings, and it sounds like a job application."
"Blue Is The Colour" is an excellent album in the jazz pop style from The Beautiful South. All the tracks bar one were written by the great songwriting team of Paul Heaton, & David Rotheray. As is the case with so many albums, many critics compared it to the band's debut album, "Welcome to the Beautiful South", an album that was very hard to live up to in terms of songwriting, and musicianship. Some critics also moaned that the songs were becoming too cynical and clever for their own good. The songs ARE "cynical and clever", and that is part of The Beautiful South's quality. "Liar's Bar", "Don't Marry Her" and "Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)" are just three of eleven clever, melodic, and brilliantly written pop songs by Paul Heaton, & David Rotheray. "Artificial Flowers" was written by Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick. The album is HR by A.O.O.F.C. [ All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 137 Mb]. Listen to the band's classic pop jazz album "Welcome to the Beautiful South". The band's "Choke" album is @ TBSTH/CHOKE

TRACKS

1 Don't Marry Her 3:23
2 Little Blue 3:17
3 Mirror 4:05
4 Blackbird On The Wire 4:56
5 The Sound Of North America 4:02
6 Have Fun 4:45
7 Liars' Bar 5:53
8 Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) 3:37
9 Foundations 2:44
10 Artificial Flowers 3:58
11 One God 4:12
12 Alone 4:59

All songs composed by David Rotheray & Paul Heaton except "Artificial Flowers" (Recorded by Bobby Darin in 1960) by Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick

MUSICIANS

David Rotheray - Guitar
Sean Welch - Bass
Damon Butcher - Keyboards, String Arrangements & Programming
David Stead - Drums
Andy Duncan - Percussion & Programming
Martin Ditcham - Additional Percussion
Paul Heaton, Jacqueline Abbott, Dave Hemingway - Vocals

BIO

Following the disbandment of the British indie pop group the Housemartins in 1989, vocalist Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South. Where their previous group relied on jazzy guitars and witty, wry lyrics, the Beautiful South boasted a more sophisticated, jazzy pop sound, layered with keyboards, R&B-inflected female backing vocals and, occasionally, light orchestrations. Often, the group's relaxed, catchy songs contradicted the sarcastic, cynical thrust of the lyrics. Nevertheless, the band's pleasant arrangements often tempered whatever bitterness there was in Heaton's lyrics, and that's part of the reason why the Beautiful South became quite popular within its native Britain during the '90s. Though the group never found a niche in America -- by the middle of the decade, their records weren't even being released in the U.S. -- their string of melodic jazz-pop singles made them one of the most successful, if one of the least flashy, bands in Britain. Their popularity was confirmed by the astonishing success of their 1994 singles compilation, Carry on Up the Charts, which became one of the biggest-selling albums in British history. Heaton and Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South immediately after the breakup of the Housemartins, who were one of the most popular and well-reviewed British guitar pop bands of the mid-'80s. The Housemartins had earned a reputation for being somewhat downbeat Northerners, so the duo chose the name Beautiful South sarcastically. To complete the lineup, the pair hired former Anthill Runaways vocalist Briana Corrigan, bassist Sean Welch, drummer David Stead (formerly a Housemartins roadie), and guitarist David Rotheray, who became Heaton's new collaborator. In the summer of 1989, they released their first single, "Song for Whoever," on the Housemartins' old record label, Go!. "Song for Whoever" climbed to number two, while its follow-up "You Keep It All In" peaked at number eight in September, 1989. A month later, the group's debut, Welcome to the Beautiful South, was released to positive reviews. "A Little Time," the first single from the group's second album, Choke, became the group's first number one single in the fall of 1990. Choke was also well-received, even though it didn't quite match the performance of the debut, either in terms of sales or reviews. In particular, some critics complained that Heaton was becoming too clever and cynical for his own good. The Beautiful South released their third album, 0898, in 1992; it was their first record not to be released in the United States, yet it maintained their success in Britain. Following the release of 0898, Corrigan left the group, reportedly upset over some of Heaton's ironic lyrics. She was replaced with Jacqui Abbot, who made her first appearance on the band's fourth album, 1994's Miaow. While both 0898 and Miaow were popular, they were only moderate successes. Their respectable chart performances in no way prepared any observers, including the band themselves, for the blockbuster success of Carry on Up the Charts, a greatest-hits collection released at the end of 1994. Carry on Up the Charts entered the charts at number one. It was one of the fastest-selling albums in U.K. history and its success outlasted the Christmas season. The album stayed at number one for several months, going platinum many times over and, in the process, becoming one of the most popular albums in British history. Its success was a bit of a surprise, since the popularity of the Beautiful South's previous albums never indicated the across-the-boards success that greeted Carry on Up the Charts. The album wasn't released in America until late 1995, after it broke several U.K. records. The Beautiful South released their follow-up to Miaow, Blue Is the Colour, in the fall of 1996. Quench followed three years later, then Painting It Red in fall 2000, and Gaze in 2003. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-beautiful-south-p3647/biography

MORE ABOUT TBS

A band as well known for their gin-soaked cynicism as their catchy and lush pop melodies, the Beautiful South have had enormous impact in their native England, while success in America has been limited to cult status. Music critics on both shores and beyond, however, have praised the South and in particular, lyricist and singer Paul Heaton, for his cockeyed views on love, the music business, and whatever else comes up, as well as his and songwriting partner Dave Rotheray's innate ability to invent hummable tunes with irresistible pop hooks. Named for the not-so-beautiful debilitated neighborhoods of South London, their name, like their songs, is an exercise in irony. As Spin's Jonathon Bernstein observed, their music consists of "intricately constructed melodies serving as safe houses for bilious attacks on men and women—and that dumb, doomed dance they do together." Formed from the remnants of the breakup by the House martins, another cynical band, albeit with a more political bent, singer/songwriter Heaton, along with Housemartin drummer Dave Hemingway started the Beautiful South in 1989 in their hometown of Hull, a gray, working-class city in the north of England. With guitarist/songwriter Rotheray, bassist Sean Welch, drummer David Stead, and vocalist Brianna Corrigan, the South presented a more expansive musical playing field than what was offered in the Housemartins. With Hemingway, now a singer not a drummer, Corrigan, and Heaton, the band was able to move seamlessly through the vocal characterizations of three quite different lead vocalists. "Their voices," Parke Puterbaugh observed in Stereo Review, "one a croon of limited range [Heaton], the other more of a sing-speak [Hemingway]—are joined by Corrigan's girlish mouse-squeak and backed by a crack three-piece band of guitar, bass, and drums." SONGS FOR WHOEVER - The Beautiful South stormed out of the gate with their debut single, "Song For Whoever," a magnificently sardonic view of syrupy love songs which feature women's names as a protaganistic prop. Released in May of 1989, the song went to number two on the charts in the UK and marked a stellar introduction to the new band. The next single, "You Keep It All In," also a hit, featured all three vocalists bemoaning the stodgy, reserved tendencies of the British. Both songs appeared on their debut album, Welcome to the Beautiful South, released in October of 1989. "Make a list of qualities that define great pop music," People magazine's Michael Small suggested in his review, "and you've got a pretty fair description of the Beautiful South." The album did exceptionally well in England but received a cooler response in America, despite praise from the likes of Small and his colleagues. "They aren't yet a classic pop band," Spin's Tony Fletcher asserted, "but Welcome to the Beautiful South remains exactly that—a warm introduction to an enticing new proposition. Here's to the sequel." The sequel turned out to be 1990's Choke, an album that cemented their reputation as biting ironists. Stereo Review's Puterbaugh describes the album as a "mix of lyrical quirks and music-hall andcabaret-influenced pop.... [which] stops just shy of being cute and charming, however, and gives the songs here a devilishly droll edge." For their part, just before the album's release in an interview with Melody Maker, Heaton and Rotheray expressed some regret to being thought of as mere cynics. "It's just the way I write. Unfortunately," Heaton offered. "I'd like to be able to write just straight in some ways.... I think there's a bit of immaturity in the way I write actually." Hemingway confessed he didn't like that people saw the band as cynical. "I don't think we are," he said. "It's just that the bubble of unreality is there and there are not many people bursting it. So we took it upon ourselves to burst a few bubbles." ALCOHOLISM, NUDITY, ETC. - It was 1992's 0898 Beautiful South that had the most bubbles bursting. With 0898 being the English equivalent of America's 1-900 sex lines, the album opened with "Old Red Eyes Is Back, a lush and airy tale of alcoholism. Labeled a "pop album with fangs" by Stereo Review's Puterbaugh, he also declared "Old Red Eyes Is Back" as his nominee for song of the year, and commented on the song being "compassionate while noting the waste of a life. It is this kind of juxtaposition of serious themes and sunny music that makes the Beautiful South stand out from the pack, and 0898 Beautiful South contains a dozen songs that can equally be hummed, pondered, and puzzled over." Heaton, in an interview with Stuart Maconie of England's Q magazine, discussed "Old Red Eyes," asserting that it wasn't a morality tale. "It's looking at the more humorous and sad side of being drunk.... It sold respectably but the radio didn't really play it. I don't suppose they like songs about alcohol abuse." Another song from 0898, "36D," caused even more furor. Written about England's Page 3 girls, women who appear topless on the third page of some London tabloids, Heaton and Rotheray's intention was to attack the industry that supports it, not the women themselves, but mixed messages in the song reflected otherwise. "We all agree that we should have targeted the media as sexist instead of blaming the girls for taking off their tops," Hemingway admitted to Eric Puls of the Chicago Sun-Times. "It was a case of rushing headlong into the recording of the song." Vocalist Corrigan refused to sing on the song and when she left the band after the album's release, rumors intimated that it was the sexist lyrics of "36D" that prompted her exit. Corrigan said that may have been an impetus, but not the reason. "I left really because it was the right time for me to go, " she told Gary Crossing of England's The Big Issue. "My reservation about some of the lyrics became like a trigger to spur me on." Creative growth played a role as well, Corrigan admitted. "I'd always written songs for myself, but I knew there wasn't going to be an opportunity for that in the band. As a woman in this business you're always in a much stronger position if you perform your own stuff." Following the exodus of Corrigan, the band took some time off and returned with Miaow, a 1994 album featuring new vocalist Jacqueline Abbott, whom the band discovered singing at a party. While only available as an import in America, the album didn't fare well in England despite critical praise. After hearing the album Peter Paphides of Melody Maker declared "Heaton (not the smug, flat-capped curmudgeon we'd have you believe) oozes more humanity from his tiniest cuticle than any of the lemon-faced irony-challenged Americans we blindly laud."The small reception didn't seem to bother Heaton, however, confessing to Melody Maker's Sylvia Patterson, "Sales figures certainly aren't important to me, that's a dangerous way to think.... People know what I look like , they stilllike me and that's more important.... I'm genuinely happy I've enough money to go into a bar, buy another gin and tonic and people have enough time to give me a smile—that seems like a fair enough agreement." CARRYIN' ON UP THE CHARTS - Heaton and company wouldn't have to worry about record sales much longer. In November of 1994 Carry on Up the Charts-The Best of the Beautiful South was released and became the third fastest selling UK album of all time. At the same time, Heaton was questioning how much further he could go with the band. "I was feeling a bit unconvinced about me own future in music, " he told Patterson. "Because I just feel a bit old for it....I was just thinking how I'm not sure, as a singer-songwriter in a band, how long you can go in the pop industry. There are four songwriters I can think of, and they're all better than me, who started off in bands and went solo: Paul Weller, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, and Van Morrison. If I was gonna be like that I'd have to be a lot stronger in terms of personality and security than I am now. Right now, I can't even imagine going to New York by meself. I'm just Paul Heaton, I'm not able to do it. I haven't got the confidence." FOR THE RECORD. . .Members include Paul Heaton, vocals and song writer; Dave Rotheray, guitar and songwriter; Dave Hemingway, vocals; Brianna Corrigan (left band 1992), vocals; Sean Welch, bass; David Stead, drums; Jacqueline Abbott, (joined band 1993), vocals. Formed 1989 in Hull, England. Heaton and Hemingway had previously been in the band, the Housemartins, which disbanded 1989; released first album, Welcome to the Beautiful South, 1990; album received good reviews and the band toured America, 1990; released 0898 Beautiful South which contained the controversial song "36D," 1992; Corrigan left band, 1992; compilation, Carriy on Up the Charts-The Best of the Beautiful South, became third fastest selling album ever in the UK, 1994: Addresses: Record company—Polygram Records, 825 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10019: Towards the end of 1996 the band released Blue is the Colour, another album available only as an import in America. Jennifer Nine of Melody Maker described it as, "charming, subversively luscious business as usual." So it seems Heaton will carry on with the Beautiful South admitting to Patterson in 1995 that he's, "starting to write really good lyrics now. I'm starting to get proud." Not that he'd ever describe himself as a good songwriter, however. "Because I'm not," he told Patterson. "Because I'm not Otis Redding and I never will be." But Heaton does confess that the Beautiful South, aside from exploring the undiscovered hooks and melodies of pop, is furthering the mission begun by The Clash, The Jam, and the Sex Pistols. "It's all a question of putting people on the right train," he told Patterson, "telling them to watch out, there's things in people and society to be angry about." Additional information for this profile was obtained from the Beautiful South page from Polygram Records, www.polygram.com. © Brian Escamilla © 2011 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-musicians/beautiful-south-biography

Fever Tree



Fever Tree - Live At Lake Charles 1978 - 1999 - Shroom Records

The last live concert played by the reunited Fever Tree. Recorded via multi-track mobile truck in Louisiana 1978. The music is tasteful, guitar oriented rock and roll with the band playing a couple of older songs but mostly newer material. At times, the music reminds the listener of Santana, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, or even Steely Dan. Jazzy, muscular lead guitar that can stop and turn on a dime. Tight rhythm section adds to the band dynamics. © 1996-2011, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates

Another release on the mighty Shroom label. Shroom has been a champion of reissuing hopelessly obscure prog (Hands), fusion (Aurora), and now, with Fever Tree, psychedelic hard rock. Fever Tree apparently released a few records in the early 70s on a major label and then split up. They reformed for at least one final concert, 'cause we're looking at a recording of the band's last-ever gig. The instrumental "Taft Street Strut" starts things off with a progged-out groove in 5/8 and enough keyboards to keep fans of the label's other bands happy. The few songs after that, however, fall into a rather predictable Grand Funk Railroad or Black Oak Arkansas boogie style that's a bit disappointing after such a strong start. The keyboards in particular go AWOL at this point, only to reappear later on in the album. The main songwriter and the only band member to be profiled in the booklet is guitarist Michael Knust, so it's understandable that he's given center stage. The fascinating "Angelina" livens things up near the end of the album. A longer track with a delicate groove and a keyboard solo (huzzah!), this is a keeper. Their "Child in Time," I suppose. Things improve even more afterwards, with the jazzy "Party Time Anywhere" and the memorably Santana-ish rocker "Know I Care." A whole album of material of this quality would be very welcome. The sound quality seems to wane from track to track - surprising, since this is supposedly a recording of a single gig. Ah, here we go [from the liner notes] - "Three different brands of tape were used that night and that resulted in slight anomalies..." Those anomalies manifest themselves in the form of crap sound on some of the tracks and beautifully clear sound on others. A shame, since this robs the record of the continuity a live recording needs. It also robs the band of power and energy on the harder-rocking tracks. Fortunately, the better tracks are the ones where they stray from their boogie bar-band leanings and, er . . . get a little mellow. © Mike Thaxton © http://www.eer-music.com/reviews/Fever_Tree.html

An obscure album from an obscure band, originally from Houston, Texas, and HR by A.O.O.F.C. The late Fever Tree guitarist, Mike Knust said of this album, "It's got Rock and Roll, it's got Eric Johnson type stuff, it's got fusion/jazz, different time signatures, it's the proudest work that I've ever done. I recommend it if you like good music". Read an in-depth interview with Mike @ http://www.thepsychedelicguitar.com/knust.htm. Audio quality is as described above by Mike Thaxton. The tracks are @ 128 Kbps, but this album is well worth your time. Listen to Fever Tree's "Another Time Another Place" album which was re-released in 2006 along with the band's s/t album.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

SIDE 1

1 Mama Hang Around - Michael Knust 3:41
2 San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native) - Michael Knust, Scott Holtzman, Vivian Holtzman 6:55
3 Don't It Burn - Michael Knust 5:38
4 The Man Who Paints the Pictures - Michael Knust 5:38
5 Cruzzin' - Michael Knust 3:05

SIDE 2

1 Puppetmaster - Michael Knust 4:30
2 Angelina - Vivian Holtzman 9:05
3 Party Time Anytime - Michael Knust 3:30
4 Know I Care - Michael Knust 4:24
5 Spirit - Al Jarreau 4:01
11 Taft Street Strut - Michael Knust 3:43 [Bonus Track] *

* Some early releases of this album did not include this track

BAND

Michael Knust RIP - Guitar
Kenneth Blanchet - Bass
Pat Brennan - Keyboards, Vocals
Robbie Parrish - Drums

SHORT BIO

A minor, if reasonably interesting, late-'60s psychedelic group, Houston's Fever Tree is most famous for their single "San Francisco Girls," with its dramatic melody, utopian lyrics, and searing fuzz guitar. Most of their best material, ironically, was written by their over-30 husband-wife production team, Scott and Vivian Holtzman, who had previously written material for Tex Ritter and the Mary Poppins soundtrack. These odd bedfellows produced some fairly distinctive material with more classical/Baroque influences and orchestral string arrangements than were usually found in psychedelic groups. Their pretty, wistful ballads (enhanced on their first album by arranger David Angel, who had also worked on Love's classic Forever Changes) endure better than their dirge-like fuzz grinders, which epitomize some of the more generic aspects of heavy psychedelia. Releasing four albums (the third of which, Creation, included guest guitar by future ZZ Top axeman Billy Gibbons), their records grew weaker and more meandering with time, and the group disbanded in 1970. © Richie Unterberger © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/fever-tree-p75818/biography

DETAILED BAND INFO

By and large Texas-based psych is viewed with great favor within collector's circles, but for some reason Houston's Fever Tree stands as a glaring exception to the rule. Given the band was actually quite talented, I've wondered why the disconnect and the only really answer I can come up with is that they were viewed as being early 'sell outs' via their contract with Uni Records. Fever Tree traces it's roots to the mid-1960s when Knust was still in high school, teaching guitar on the side. One of his students was E.E. Wolfe. Inspired by The Beatles (who wasn't), Knust suggested Wolfe might be interested in starting a band. He also suggested Wolfe might want to switch to bass. Jerry Campbell was a fellow guitar teacher and was invited to join. Dennis Keller was also taking guitar lessons at the same place. Knust was less than impressed with Keller's guitar chops, but liked his voice and approached him about handling vocals for a band. With the addition of kyeboardist Don Lampton and drummer John Tuttle the group began rehearsing as The Bostwick Vines, playing local school dances and clubs only to lose Campbell to the draft. With Knust taking over lead guitar the revamped band hooked up with local newspaper writer Scott Holtzman and his wife Vivian (the pair had previously written material for country artist Tex Ritter, The New Christy Minstrels, as well as the Mary Poppins soundtrack). The Holtzman's signed on as the group's manager, helping the band get together a repetoire of covers and original material. Holtzman also used his credentials to line up various club dates, including an opening slot on The Jefferson Airplane's 1966 Houston date. Holzman also arranged for the band to audition for Bobby Shad's Mainstream label, resulting in the Holtzman friend/keyboardist Rob Landes replacing original keyboardist Lampton and the release of their debut single on Mainstream 'Hey Mister' b/w 'I Can Beat Your Drum' (Mainstream catalog number 661). That was followed by 'Girl, Oh Girl (Don't Push Me)' b/w 'Steve Lenore' (Mainstream catalog number 665). Produced by the Holtzmans who also wrote most of the material with keyboardist Landis, "Fever Tree" should have been a massive commercial success. Admittedly these guys weren't the most original band out there, but their debut featured some great material, complete with blistering Knust guitar, acid soaked lyrics ('Unlock My Door'), enough pop smarts for them to score a hit with 'San Francisco Girls', and oodles of studio sound effects (yes that was a real Houston rainstorm they recorded on 'Come with Me (Rainsong)'). Geez a couple of the band members even sported turtle necks and there appeared to be at least one Nehru jacket on the cover. That left you to wonder why the album's been largely ignored over the ensuing years ... Shame 'cause it is good. The good news is that collectors can still find original copies at reasonable prices. Alright, what about the music? Musically the album was surprisingly diverse, bouncing all over the spectrum including a slice of Johann Sebastian Bach ('Imitation Situation1 (Toccata and Fugue)'), fuzz-propelled rockers ('Where Do You Go?) and even orchestrated pop ('The Sun Also Rises'). There were plenty of highlights. While it wasn't a major chart hit (# 91), 'San Francisco Girls' was probably the best San Francisco-themed song of the time. 'Man Who Painted Pictures', '' and '' were all top notch rockers. The band also deserved credit for their good taste in covers - Wilson Pickett, The Beatles, and The Buffalo Springfield. While lots of critics weren't particularly enamored with lead singer Keller's voice, I have to admit liking it. While he may not have had the greatest vocal range, Keller's ragged power was quite impressive and still sounds contemporary today (check out his throat searing cover of Wilson Pickett's 'Ninety Nine and a Half' (Won't Do'). He was certainly more talented than have of the grunge acts that clog today's tightly formatted radio stations. Yeah, it wasn't perfect. Some of the Dave Angel and Gene Page string arrangements were a bit saccharine and the freak out 'Filigree and Shadow' was simply boring. Propelled by the single and a national tour opening for the likes of The Jeff Beck Group, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Steppenwolf, the album peaked at # 156. In addition to the hit single, Uni tapped the album for a follow-up in the form of a nifty Neil Young/Buffalo Springfield cover: - 1968's 'San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native)' b/w 'Come with Me (Rainsong)' (Uni catalog number 55095) - 1969's 'Clancy (Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing)' b/w 'The Sun Also Rises' (Uni catalog number 55172). In between those two releases there was also a non-LP 45: - 1968's 'Love Makes The Sun Rise' b/w 'Filigree And Shadow' (Uni catalog number 55146). Recorded in an around the band's first national tour, 1968's "Another Time, Another Place" found the group continuing their partnership with the Holzmans who again produced and wrote most of the material. Reflecting growing confidence and comfort in a recording environment, the sophomore album was far stronger than their debut, material like 'Man Who Paints the Pictures, Part 2', 'Don't Come Crying To Me Girl' and '' avoided the debut's already somewhat dated pop and psych-flavored outings in favor of a heavier rock sound. That was a smart move since Keller's gruff delivery (he occasionally recalled a less coarse Jim Morrison), was perfectly suited for their more rock oriented repertoire. Having listened to the album for the first time in a couple of years, The Doors comparison wasn't half bad - anyone doubting the comparison need only check out 'Grand Candy Young Sweet'. The shift to a more rock oriented attack also played well to the band's instrumental strengths. Knust turned in a series of nice performances - check out his fuzz solo on their surprisingly effective cover of the old chestnut 'Fever'. That said the album wasn't perfect. Supposedly written in the wake of an acid trip and featuring a vocal from Knust, 'I've Never Seen Evergreen' served as the LP's psych number, while 'What Time Did You Say It Is In Salt Lake City' was a bland blues number, and the jazzy 'Jokes Are for Sad People' served as a needless showcased for the band's instrumental prowess (including a Landes flute solo). In spite of some flaws (notably on side two), well worth checking out.) While the LP proved a decent seller hitting # 86, the pressures of touring, business issues that left the band stuck with some massive touring bills, and personality conflicts saw Keller quit in late 1968. The band subsequently called it quits with Knust returning to Houston where he briefly formed the band Ark. After a year long separation, Uni management convinced the band to regroup and relocate to California. Again produced by husband and wife team of Scott and Vivian Holzman, 1969's "Creation" was actually far better than circumstances should have allowed. Reuniting in the wake of earlier and ongoing personality issues, the fact they were actually able to complete an album was quite an accomplishment. The fact that so much of the LP was worthwhile was even more impressive. With the Holzmans again responsible for the majority of the nine tracks, musically the set was far more diverse and commercial than the sophomore set. That was particularly true for three songs penned by Jancy Lee Tyler (anyone know who she was?). Complete with female backing vocalists, the opener 'Woman, Woman' spotlighted Keller doing his most commercial Jim Morrison vamp, while 'Wild Woman Ways' and 'Run Past My Window' would have sounded fine on top-40 radio. Sporting a pretty melody and a string arrangement, the Holzmans' 'Love Makes the Sun Rise' was even more radio-friendly. In case anyone was under the impression the group had completely sold out '' and '' were more conventional rockers, while 'Fever Glue' provided the mandatory blues number. Uni apparently did little in the realm of promotional support, though they tapped the album for a pair of singles in the form of: The Doorsy 'Catcher In the Rye' b/w 'What Time Did You Say It Is In Salt Lake City' (Uni catalog number 55202) and 'Love Makes the Sun Rise' b/w 'Filigree and Shadow' (Uni catalog number 55146 ). The band began touring in support of the LP, but the recently married Keller decided he'd had enough of it and opted out, returning to Houston. The band subsequently called it quits another time though that didn't stop Uni from releasing a posthumous single: - 1969's 'I Am' b/w 'Grand Candy Young Sweet' (Uni catalog number 55228). Though credited as a Fever Tree release, 1970's ironically-titled "For Sale" was little more than a collection of the earlier Mainstream sides (which may have been rerecorded) and leftover Uni-era odds and ends. A quick glance at the liner notes indicated the band had basically collapsed with keyboardist Rob Landis and drummer John Tuttle credited as 'formerly of Fever Tree'. Their places were taken by former Byrds drummer Kevin Kelley, keyboardist Grant Johnson, and various members of the Wrecking Crew and The Blackberries on ill thought out backing vocals. In an online interview guitarist Michael Knust expressed few memories of working on the LP. In fact the only track he seemed to have any recollections of were putting lead guitar on the group's cover of Love's 'She Comes In Colors'. Most of the material was less than impressive with Keller sounding particularly uninspired (on a couple of tracks like You're Not the Same Baby'' he actually sounded like he was singing with marbles in his mouth). As for the side long 'Hey Joe' cover - well ... it was long. For his part lead guitarist Michael Knust was all but absent from the proceedings. That left the two Mainstream songs ('Hey Mister' and 'Girl Don't Push Me') and the Love cover as the album highlights. Prodded by former manager Scott Holtzman, in 1978 guitarist Michael Knust returned to Houston and resurrected Fever Tree with with singer Dennis Keller. Fronted by Keller and Knust with support from new members Kenneth Blanchet (bass), Pat Brennan (keyboards/vocals) and Robbie Parrish (drums), the group began playing around Houston and the Gulf Coast club circuit. Unfortunately personality issues reared themselves and within a year both manager Holtzman and Keller been fired. Keyboardist Brennan stepped into pick up the vocals. The resurrected line up managed to struggle through a four track EP "Return" and a live set, before collapsing. "Live At Lake Charles 1978" captured the final performance of the resurrected late-1970s era Fever Tree (Robbie Parris - Pat Brennan - Michael Knust - Kenneth Blanchet). According to an interview with Fever Tree guitarist Michael Knust, the idea for a live set was his and he was responsible for contacting Charly Bickly of Buttermilk Music in arranging for the live recording. Ironically ensuing issues with respect to ownership of the resulting master tapes kept the album shelved for some 20 years. Essentially Knust with a cast of backing musicians, the album featured a mixture of revamped Fever Tree numbers and more recent Knust compositions. Several of those newer numbers reflected an unexpected jazz-rock fusion edge which was apparently a reflection of where Knust's personal interests had led him during the mid-1970s when he lived in Southern California. Following the album's release Knust moved back to Houston where he bought a home, built a small studio (Airtight Recording Studio) and began playing in local bands, including Special Forces. In the early 1990s he relocated to Austin where he continued his production work, as well gigging as part of the Michael Knust Band and The Knightsnakes. Unfortunately a pair of nasty car accidents severely damaged his playing hand, forcing him to undergo multiple surgeries and essentially re-learn the guitar. Sadly Knust reportedly died from a drug overdose in September 2003. He was only 54. I'm not sure what Dennis Keller is doing. Rob Landes was teaching at Florida's St. Thomas University, but appears to have moved on as of 2007 (I didn't see his name on the faculty listing). Drummer John Tuttle got out of music and found work in construction. Bassist John Wolfe also got out of music and found his calling in photography. Band managers Scott and Vivian Holtzman have also both passed on. There are a slew of posthumous 'best of' compilations. Some are legitimate, some questionable. © http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/FEVERtree.htm

29.7.11

George Benson



George Benson - I Got A Woman And Some Blues - 1984 - A&M

These tracks were supposedly recorded at Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on dates between April 30th, 1969 and September 3rd, 1969, and some of the tracks are possibly outtakes from GB's 1969 "Tell It Like It Is" album, which was also recorded at Englewood Cliffs between April 29th, 1969, and May 20th, 1969. George Benson's own "Bluesadelic" and "Durham's Turn" are good Blue Note style funky numbers, and most of the other tracks are in the Sam Cooke or Jackie Wilson style. George Benson's playing is fine in parts, and he covers good compositions by James Yester, Harry Nilsson, Ray Charles, Henry Nemo & Will Jason, Mack Vikery & Merile Kilgore, Billy Vera, and Norman Mapp. It is not strictly a jazz album, and it doesn't always highlight George Benson's exceptional jazz guitar skills. However, it's a good, if very short piecemeal album of nine funk jazz, pop, and R&B tracks. [All tracks are @ 320 Kbps]. For a better idea of GB's amazing jazz guitar skills, check out his "Beyond The Blue Horizon" album @ GEOBEN/BTBH

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

A1 I Got A Woman - Ray Charles & Renald Richard
A2 Out Of The Blue - Henry Nemo & Will Jason
A3 Bluesadelic - George Benson
A4 Durham's Turn - George Benson

B1 Good Morning, Blues - Billy Vera
B2 I Worry 'Bout You - Norman Mapp
B3 Without Her - Harry Nilsson
B4 She Went A Little Bit Farther - Mack Vikery & Merile Kilgore
B5 Goodbye, Columbus - James Yester

POSSIBLE LIST OF MUSICIANS

George Benson - Guitar, Vocals
Jerry Jemmott, Jim Fielder, Bob Bushnell - Bass
Leo Morris aka Idris Muhammad - Drums
Paul Alicea - Percussion
Johnny Pacheco, Angel Allende - Conga, Percussion
Rodgers Grant, Richard Tee - Piano
Lonnie Smith - Organ
Joe Henderson, Arthur Clarke - Saxophone
Hubert Laws, Jerome Richardson - Saxophone, Woodwind, Flute, Reeds
Joe Farrell - Saxophone, Woodwind, Reeds
Bobby Porcelli - Alto Sax, Sax, Flute
Sonny Fortune - Alto Sax
Lew Soloff - Trumpet
Jerry Dodgion - Flute
Marty Sheller (Arranger, Conductor)

BIO

George Benson is simply one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history, but he is also an amazingly versatile musician, and that frustrates to no end critics who would paint him into a narrow bop box. He can play in just about any style -- from swing to bop to R&B to pop -- with supreme taste, a beautiful rounded tone, terrific speed, a marvelous sense of logic in building solos, and, always, an unquenchable urge to swing. His inspirations may have been Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery -- and he can do dead-on impressions of both -- but his style is completely his own. Not only can he play lead brilliantly, he is also one of the best rhythm guitarists around, supportive to soloists and a dangerous swinger, particularly in a soul-jazz format. Yet Benson can also sing in a lush soulful tenor with mannerisms similar to those of Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, and it is his voice that has proved to be more marketable to the public than his guitar. Benson is the guitar-playing equivalent of Nat King Cole -- a fantastic pianist whose smooth way with a pop vocal eventually eclipsed his instrumental prowess in the marketplace -- but unlike Cole, Benson has been granted enough time after his fling with the pop charts to reaffirm his jazz guitar credentials, which he still does at his concerts. Benson actually started out professionally as a singer, performing in nightclubs at eight, recording four sides for RCA's X label in 1954, forming a rock band at 17 while using a guitar that his stepfather made for him. Exposure to records by Christian, Montgomery, and Charlie Parker got him interested in jazz, and by 1962, the teenaged Benson was playing in Brother Jack McDuff's band. After forming his own group in 1965, Benson became another of talent scout John Hammond's major discoveries, recording two highly regarded albums of soul-jazz and hard bop for Columbia and turning up on several records by others, including Miles Davis' Miles in the Sky. He switched to Verve in 1967, and, shortly after the death of Montgomery in June 1968, producer Creed Taylor began recording Benson with larger ensembles on A&M (1968-1969) and big groups and all-star combos on CTI (1971-1976). While the A&M and CTI albums certainly earned their keep and made Benson a guitar star in the jazz world, the mass market didn't catch on until he began to emphasize vocals after signing with Warner Bros. in 1976. His first album for Warner Bros., Breezin', became a Top Ten hit on the strength of its sole vocal track, "This Masquerade," and this led to a string of hit albums in an R&B-flavored pop mode, culminating with the Quincy Jones-produced Give Me the Night. As the '80s wore on, though, Benson's albums became riddled with commercial formulas and inferior material, with his guitar almost entirely relegated to the background. Perhaps aware of the futility of chasing the charts (after all, "This Masquerade" was a lucky accident), Benson reversed his field late in the '80s to record a fine album of standards, Tenderly, and another with the Basie band, his guitar now featured more prominently. His pop-flavored work also improved noticeably in the '90s. Benson retains the ability to spring surprises on his fans and critics, like his dazzlingly idiomatic TV appearance and subsequent record date with Benny Goodman in 1975 in honor of John Hammond, and his awesome command of the moment at several Playboy Jazz Festivals in the 1980s. His latter-day recordings include the 1998 effort Standing Together, 2000's Absolute Benson, 2001's All Blues, and 2004's Irreplaceable. Three songs from 2006's Givin' It Up, recorded with Al Jarreau, were nominated for Grammy Awards in separate categories. Richard S. Ginell © 2010 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/george-benson-p6098/biography

Leonard Cohen



Leonard Cohen - Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 - 2009 - Music On Vinyl

"All those people had been sitting out there in the rain, after they’d set fire to Hendrix’s stage,’ Bob Johnston recalls, ‘and nobody had slept for days. And then Leonard came out and he started out singing ‘Like… a … bird’ – singing it so slowly that everybody in that audience was exactly with him. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard. And that’s what saved that show and saved the festival." - Bob Johnston, as told to Sylvie Simmons, from the liner notes to Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970

At 4 a.m. on the fifth and final night of the troubled 1970 Isle of Wight concert, the not-yet-legendary Leonard Cohen stepped onstage before a raucous crowd of 600,000 and promptly captivated the unruly masses. Murray Lerner's mesmerizing docu closely chronicles Cohen's set, only occasionally breaking away to record audience reactions or interview fellow performers, who even today profess astonishment at how Cohen turned the night around. Must-see footage for fans and for those less hip to Cohen's early stylings, the docu, already out on DVD, opens theatrically Jan. 22nd at Gotham's Cinema Village. Anger over admission fees, fences and patrol dogs led the crowd, three times larger than expected, to overturn barriers and set fires. Anarchy threatened, stoked by Jimi Hendrix's magnificently incendiary perf; indeed, Cohen's appearance was delayed by the need to replace the piano and organ, which had been set ablaze during Hendrix's set. Some acts were booed off the stage, notably Kris Kristofferson, who, in both archival and present-day footage, attests to the ugliness of the crowd and the ease with which Cohen charmed them. Helmer Lerner reveals this background context incrementally, around the edges of Cohen's bravura performance. Neither defensive nor defiant, Cohen quickly established a quiet, confessional intimacy with his audience, opening with a childhood anecdote that ended with the request that everyone light a match so he could see them (prefiguring the communal lighters of modern-day concerts). At the time of the concert, Cohen's voice had not yet attained the gravelly basso profundo that came to characterize his stylistic reinvention. His more inflected notes and husky sincerity here belong to his wistful "troubadour" phase, making up in sheer hypnotic beauty what his vocalizations later gained in incantatory power. By & © Ronnie Scheib © variety.com © 2011 Reed Business Information", a division of Reed Elsevier Inc http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117941912?refcatid=31

Live at the Isle of Wight was originally to be called My Sad and Famous Songs but, at the last minute, the title was scrapped. This is fortunate—while it’s true that Cohen writes some of the heaviest songs you’ll hear, and that his dour delivery gives him his (often deserved) reputation as an artist who’s inspired quite a bit of wrist-slashing, the proposed title would have reinforced an overly simplistic perspective that fails to consider Cohen’s disarming onstage charm and potent if subtle sense of humor. Mid-set on Isle of Wight, Cohen begins delivering what, at first, seems like a ponderous activist poem so common to the era: “As for the political situation, “ he says, “they locked up a man who wanted to rule the world. The fools, they locked up the wrong man.” The crowd cheers, and Cohen continues, “ A man who eats meat wants to get his teeth into something. A man who does not eat meat wants to get his teeth into something else.” There’s a long pause, and then Cohen adds, “If these thoughts interest you for even a moment, you are lost.” It’s refreshing to see this artist from the love-and-peace era so hilariously undercut himself and the whole self-serious Woodstock generation, to which it seemed, he never quite belonged. No, Cohen’s body of work and the performances on this disc feel like they exist outside of the time and place they were created—outside of any time and place for that matter. Which makes them all the more powerful. By & © Steve LaBate © 2011 Paste Media Group. All rights reserved http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2009/10/leonard-cohen-live-at-the-isle-of-wight-1970.html

It was gone two in the morning by the time he finally got on stage after being woken from a nap in his trailer. Out front the mood among the throng – an astonishing 600,000 strong – was a mixture of blissed-out and fired-up after five days of music, ragged sleep and running battles between the organisers and the ‘free festival radicals’ occupying ‘Desolation Row’, the hill overlooking the site. Backstage there were jitters – already that night there had been an onstage fire, a wilful act of arson, during Jimi Hendrix’s slot. Unfazed, Leonard Cohen wandered onstage cool as an English summer. Shaggy, stubbled, tanned, and sporting a tightly belted safari suit (possibly the only time said garment has seemed dashing), he looked more film star than rock icon. At almost 36, he was, Miles Davis aside, the oldest act on a sprawling, stellar bill. Cohen’s subsequent performance was remarkable for its poise, its passion and the way it defused the tension crackling in the air. Before he had even played a note Cohen had seized his moment by reminiscing about his childhood visits to the circus and getting the audience to hold up a lighted match (a gesture yet to descend into cliché) and by singing, ad lib, “It’s good to be here alone in front of 600,000 people”. When Cohen finally swoops into a solemn “Bird On A Wire”, the crowd’s collective exhalation is almost tangible. Thereafter, Cohen never lets his grip slacken over 80 minutes, towing his audience through songs that were already causes célèbres – “So Long Marianne”, “Suzanne”, “Lady Midnight” – and startling them withintroductions that are sometimes poems, sometimes narratives. “I wrote this in a peeling room in the Chelsea hotel… I was coming off amphetamine and pursuing a blonde lady whom I met in a Nazi poster,” is his lead-in to “One Of Us Can’t Be Wrong”. The confidential introductions and Cohen’s tousled appearance lend proceedings a drowsy intimacy, though whether Len’s half-closed eyes and sleepy manner are due to his recent nap or the ingestion of some festive substance is unclear. In this early part of his career, long before the more detached and oblique commentator of the 1980s emerged, the confessional was, in any case, Cohen’s default position, the sense of his nakedness enhanced by minimal backings. Here he’s accompanied by a classy quartet of US session players (including producer Bob Johnston) whose acoustic guitars strum and ripple gently behind him while Johnston sounds hymnal organ parts and a trio of female singers provide harmony and gospel choruses. Incongruously, Cohen dubbed the group ‘The Army’. The commanding presence, though, remains Cohen’s voice, never a thing of supple beauty for sure, and prone to wander into the wrong key, but by turns sensual and fervid and always perfectly paced for lyrics that chime with poetic grace. The versions here of “The Stranger”, “The Partisan”, and “You Know Who I Am”, to mention just three, have a steely exuberance absent from the more mannered takes on his first two albums. Whether singing, reciting or talking, Cohen never misses a phonetic beat. At times even the band, who had just accompanied him on a European tour, seem as mesmerised by his spoken forays as the crowd. There’s a clever underlying structure to the set, too, that alternates a jolt or two of slow, lingering romance with more uptempo offerings. Hence, after “…Marianne” comes a bounding “Lady Midnight”, while “The Stranger” is followed by a countrified take on “Tonight Will Be Fine” featuring banjo and fiddle, the latter by Charlie Daniels. In a wry preface to “Tonight”, Cohen sings of his “sad and famous songs” alongside a cheery dedication to “the poison snakes on Desolation Hill”. Ouch! “That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”, forlorn as ever, is pursued by a riotous version of “Diamonds In The Mine”, one of three tracks here that would ultimately see release on 1971’s Songs of Love And Hate, said album also including the Isle of Wight performance of “Sing Another Song Boys”. This would have been the crowd’s first encounter with both songs, as with “Famous Blue Raincoat”, rendered here with gruff, arresting determination. After that, “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy” seems almost an afterthought to a set that, across a 40-year chasm, still astonishes. By & © Neil Spencer © IPC MEDIA 1996-2011, All rights reserved http://www.uncut.co.uk/music/leonard_cohen/reviews/13710

"Leonard Cohen's Isle of Wight 1970 CD/DVD is an album that all music connoisseurs must own. There's something mythically inspiring by his performance during his magical show. Leonard Cohen has always transcended time and lyrical spaces with his songs. And this show is no different. Cohen may now be a middle aged crooner but looking back at this magnificent concert is like watching the master with new and unheard gems that he shares from his arsenal of artistic greatness". © Adrian Cepeda 11.03.2009 © Treble Media http://treblezine.com/reviews/3325-Leonard_Cohen_Live_at_the_Isle_of_Wight_1970.html

This now historic concert by one of the world's greatest living singer/songwriters and poets was recorded live at the Isle of Wight Festival on August 31, 1970. British rock journalist and TV commentator ("The Rock Chick"), Sylvie Simmons said of the concert that “It was a brilliant performance. Before he sang, Cohen talked to the hundreds of thousands of people he couldn't see. He told them - sedately - a story that sounded like a parable and a bedtime story that worked like hypnotism and at the same time tested the temperature of the crowd. He described how his father would take him to the circus as a child. Leonard didn't much like circuses, but he enjoyed the part where a man would stand up and ask everyone to light a match so they could locate each other in the darkness. 'Can I ask each of you to light a match,' Leonard asked the audience, 'so I can see where you all are?'". Bob Johnston who was Leonard Cohen's Nashville-based Columbia A&R staff producer in 1970 said that “It was magical, from the first moment to the last. I’ve never seen anything like it. He was just remarkable.” Since the mid '50's Leonard Cohen had already published novels and poetry, but he was a late starter in the music business, and sang these songs when he was only three years into his recording career. In 1970, after two successful albums, "Songs of Leonard Cohen" and "Songs from a Room", this performance at the IOW was a big step on his way to becoming the legend he is today. He managed to enthrall a vast crowd which had previously been edgy and unhappy not only with the bad weather, but also with certain musicians who in their eyes had "underperformed" at the concert. Joan Baez, Donovan, Kris Kristofferson, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Ten Years After, Emerson Lake & Palmer, The Doors, Jethro Tull, Free, The Who, and the Moody Blues were some of the great acts appearing. Not all lived up to the crowd's expectations. Leonard came on stage after a controversial and explosive performance from Jimi Hendrix, sang 14 great songs interspersed with poetry, and some wry and often cryptic comments, and somehow his calm, reflective wisdom and near mystical gentility subdued the crowd. There are many articles written about Leonard's "mass-mesmermizing" effect on the huge IOW crowd. In 2011, Leonard Cohen was 77, and if the great man is only remembered for writing his glorious "Suzanne", he is guaranteed a place in the history of great music. This is a legendary concert, and VHR by A.O.O.F.C. [Tracks range between 224 & 256 Kbps bitrate]. N.B: All but three of the classic songs on this live album were first released on Leonard Cohen’s first two LPs: “So Long, Marianne,” “One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong,” “The Stranger Song,” “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Good¬bye,” and “Suzanne” were on his debut 1967 album, "Songs Of Leonard Cohen": Bird On The Wire,” “You Know Who I Am,” “Tonight Will Be Fine,” “The Partisan,” and “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy” were on his 1969 "Songs From A Room" album. Three other songs, “Diamonds In The Mine,” “Sing Another Song Boys,” and “Famous Blue Raincoat” were on his third album from 1971, "Songs of Love and Hate", an album which reprised the IOW live version of “Sing Another Song Boys”. LC's "Live From The Beacon Theatre, NYC, February 26, 2009" album is @ LENCOH/LBEACNYC & his "Live, BBC Television Theatre, London, 1968" album @ LENCOH/BBCL68
TRACKS

A1 Introduction 3:06
A2 Bird On The Wire 4:15
A3 Intro To So Long, Marianne 0:16
A4 So Long, Marianne 7:07
A5 Intro: “Let’s Renew Ourselves Now...” 0:51
A6 You Know Who I Am 3:58
B1 Intro To Poems 0:29
B2 Lady Midnight 3:38
B3 They Locked Up A Man (poem) / A Person Who Eats Meat / Intro 2:00
B4 One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong 4:54
B5 The Stranger Song 6:37
C1 Tonight Will Be Fine 6:17
C2 Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye 3:34
C3 Diamonds In The Mine 5:23
C4 Suzanne 4:18
D1 Sing Another Song, Boys 6:13
D2 The Partisan 4:47 *
D3 Famous Blue Raincoat 5:20
D4 Seems So Long Ago, Nancy 4:19

All songs composed by Leonard Cohen except “The Partisan"

* NB: Originally a French song from WW 2, composed in 1943 by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie. The song was adapted with English lyrics by Hy Zaret, a Tin Pan Alley songsmith of “Unchained Melody” and “One Meatball” fame. Well before 1970, Joan Baez was singing the song, and during the IOW concert, Leonard dedicated the song to Joan “and the work she is doing.”

MUSICIANS

Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals - Leonard Cohen
Guitar, Organ, Piano, Harmonica - Bob Johnston
Guitar - Ron Cornelius
Bass, Banjo - Elkin "Bubba" Fowler
Electric Bass, Fiddle - Charlie Daniels
Backing Vocals - Corlynn Hanney, Donna Washburn, Susan Musmanno


BIO

One of the most fascinating and enigmatic -- if not the most successful -- singer/songwriters of the late '60s, Leonard Cohen has retained an audience across four decades of music-making interrupted by various digressions into personal and creative exploration, all of which have only added to the mystique surrounding him. Second only to Bob Dylan (and perhaps Paul Simon), he commands the attention of critics and younger musicians more firmly than any other musical figure from the 1960s who is still working at the outset of the 21st century, which is all the more remarkable an achievement for someone who didn't even aspire to a musical career until he was in his thirties. Cohen was born in 1934, a year before Elvis Presley or Ronnie Hawkins, and his background -- personal, social, and intellectual -- couldn't have been more different from those of any rock stars of any generation; nor can he be easily compared even with any members of the generation of folksingers who came of age in the 1960s. Though he knew some country music and played it a bit as a boy, he didn't start performing on even a semi-regular basis, much less recording, until after he had already written several books -- and as an established novelist and poet, his literary accomplishments far exceed those of Bob Dylan or most anyone else who one cares to mention in music, at least this side of operatic librettists such as Hugo Von Hofmannsthal and Stefan Zweig, figures from another musical and cultural world. He was born Leonard Norman Cohen into a middle-class Jewish family in the Montreal suburb of Westmount. His father, a clothing merchant (who also held a degree in engineering), died in 1943, when Cohen was nine years old. It was his mother who encouraged Cohen as a writer, especially of poetry, during his childhood. This fit in with the progressive intellectual environment in which he was raised, which allowed him free inquiry into a vast range of pursuits. His relationship to music was more tentative -- he took up the guitar at age 13, initially as a way to impress a girl, but was good enough to play country & western songs at local cafes, and he subsequently formed a group called the Buckskin Boys. At 17, he enrolled in McGill University as an English major -- by this time, he was writing poetry in earnest and became part of the university's tiny underground "bohemian" community. Cohen only earned average grades, but was a good enough writer to earn the McNaughton Prize in creative writing by the time he graduated in 1955 -- a year later, the ink barely dry on his degree, he published his first book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956), which got great reviews but didn't sell especially well. He was already beyond the age that rock & roll was aimed at -- Bob Dylan, by contrast, was still Robert Zimmerman, still in his teens, and young enough to become a devotee of Buddy Holly when the latter emerged. In 1961, Cohen published his second book of poetry, The Spice Box of Earth, which became an international success critically and commercially, and established Cohen as a major new literary figure. Meanwhile, he tried to join the family business and spent some time at Columbia University in New York, writing all the time. Between the modest royalties from sales of his second book, literary grants from the Canadian government, and a family legacy, he was able to live comfortably and travel around the world, partake of much of what it had to offer -- including some use of LSD when it was still legal -- and ultimately settling for an extended period in Greece, on the isle of Hydra in the Aegean Sea. He continued to publish, issuing a pair of novels, The Favorite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966), with a pair of poetry collections, Flowers for Hitler (1964) and Parasites of Heaven (1966) around them. The Favorite Game was a very personal work about his early life in Montreal, but it was Beautiful Losers that proved another breakthrough, earning the kind of reviews that authors dare not even hope for -- Cohen found himself compared to James Joyce in the pages of The Boston Globe, and across four decades the book has enjoyed sales totaling well into six figures. It was around this time that he also started writing music again, songs being a natural extension of his poetry. His relative isolation on Hydra, coupled with his highly mobile lifestyle when he left the island, his own natural iconoclastic nature, and the fact that he'd avoided being overwhelmed (or even touched too seriously) by the currents running through popular music since the 1940s, combined to give Cohen a unique voice as a composer. Though he did settle in Nashville for a short time in the mid-'60s, he didn't write quite like anyone else in music, in the country music mecca or anywhere else. This might have been an impediment but for the intervention of Judy Collins, a folksinger who had just moved to the front rank of that field, and who had a voice just special enough to move her beyond the relatively emaciated ranks of remaining popular folk performers after Dylan shifted to electric music -- she was still getting heard, and not just by the purists left behind in Dylan's wake. She added Cohen's "Suzanne" to her repertoire and put it onto her album In My Life, a record that was controversial enough in folk circles -- because of her cover of the Beatles song that gave the LP its title -- that it pulled in a lot of listeners and got a wide airing. "Suzanne" received a considerable amount of radio airplay from the LP, and Cohen was also represented on the album by "Dress Rehearsal Rag." It was Collins who persuaded Cohen to return to performing for the first time since his teens. He made his debut during the summer of 1967 at the Newport Folk Festival, followed by a pair of sold-out concerts in New York City and an appearance singing his songs and reciting his poems on the CBS network television show Camera Three, in a show entitled "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen." It was around the same time that actor/singer Noel Harrison brought "Suzanne" onto the pop charts with a recording of his own. One of those who saw Cohen perform at Newport was John Hammond, Sr., the legendary producer whose career went back to the 1930s and the likes of Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, and Count Basie, and extended up through Bob Dylan and, ultimately, to Bruce Springsteen. Hammond got Cohen signed to Columbia Records and he created The Songs of Leonard Cohen, which was released just before Christmas of 1967. Producer John Simon was able to find a restrained yet appealing approach to recording Cohen's voice, which might have been described as an appealingly sensitive near-monotone; yet that voice was perfectly suited to the material at hand, all of which, written in a very personal language, seemed drenched in downbeat images and a spirit of discovery as a path to unsettling revelation. Despite its spare production and melancholy subject matter -- or, very possibly because of it -- the album was an immediate hit by the standards of the folk music world and the budding singer/songwriter community. In an era in which millions of listeners hung on the next albums of Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel -- whose own latest album had ended with a minor-key rendition of "Silent Night" set against a radio news account of the death of Lenny Bruce -- Cohen's music quickly found a small but dedicated following. College students by the thousands bought it; in its second year of release, the record sold over 100,000 copies. The Songs of Leonard Cohen was as close as Cohen ever got to mass audience success. Amid all of this sudden musical activity, he hardly neglected his other writing -- in 1968, Cohen released a new volume, Selected Poems: 1956-1968, which included both old and newly published work, and earned him the Governor-General's Award, Canada's highest literary honor, which he proceeded to decline. By this time, he was actually almost more a part of the rock scene, residing for a time in New York's Chelsea Hotel, where his neighbors included Janis Joplin and other performing luminaries, some of whom influenced his songs very directly. His next album, Songs from a Room (1969), was characterized by an even greater spirit of melancholy -- even the relatively spirited "A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes" was steeped in such depressing sensibilities, and the one song not written by Cohen, "The Partisan," was a grim narrative about the reasons for and consequences of resistance to tyranny that included lines like "She died without a whisper" and included images of wind blowing past graves. Joan Baez subsequently recorded the song, and in her hands it was a bit more upbeat and inspiring to the listener; Cohen's rendition made it much more difficult to get past the costs presented by the singer's persona. On the other hand, "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy," although as downbeat as anything else here, did present Cohen in his most expressive and commercial voice, a nasal but affecting and finely nuanced performance. Still, in all, Songs from a Room was less well received commercially and critically. Bob Johnston's restrained, almost minimalist production made it less overtly appealing than the subtly commercial trappings of his debut, though the album did have a pair of tracks, "Bird on the Wire" and "The Story of Isaac," that became standards rivaling "Suzanne." "The Story of Isaac," a musical parable woven around biblical imagery about Vietnam (which is also relevant to the Iraq War), was one of the most savage and piercing songs to come out of the antiwar movement, and showed a level of sophistication in its music and lyrics that put it in a whole separate realm of composition; it received an even better airing on the Live Songs album, in a performance recorded in Berlin during 1972. Cohen may not have been a widely popular performer or recording artist, but his unique voice and sound, and the power of his writing and its influence, helped give him entrée to rock's front-ranked performers, an odd status for the then 35-year-old author/composer. He appeared at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival in England, a post-Woodstock gathering of stars and superstars, including late appearances by such soon-to-die-or-disband legends as Jimi Hendrix and the Doors; looking nearly as awkward as his fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell, Cohen strummed his acoustic guitar backed by a pair of female singers in front of an audience of 600,000 ("It's a large nation, but still weak"), comprised in equal portions of fans, freaks, and belligerent gatecrashers, but the mere fact that he was there -- sandwiched somewhere between Miles Davis and Emerson, Lake & Palmer -- was a clear statement of the status (if not the popular success) he'd achieved. One portion of his set, "Tonight Will Be Fine," was released on a subsequent live album, while his performance of "Suzanne" was one of the highlights of Murray Lerner's long-delayed, 1996-issued documentary Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival. Already, he had carved out a unique place for himself in music, as much author as performer and recording artist, letting his songs develop and evolve across years -- his distinctly noncommercial voice became part of his appeal to the audience he found, giving him a unique corner of the music audience, made of listeners descended from the same people who had embraced Bob Dylan's early work before he'd become a mass-media phenomenon in 1964. In a sense, Cohen embodied a phenomenon vaguely similar to what Dylan enjoyed before his early-'70s tour with the Band -- people bought his albums by the tens and, occasionally, hundreds of thousands, but seemed to hear him in uniquely personal terms. He earned his audience seemingly one listener at a time, by word of mouth more than by the radio, which, in any case (especially on the AM dial), was mostly friendly to covers of Cohen's songs by other artists. Cohen's third album, Songs of Love and Hate (1971), was his most powerful body of work to date, brimming with piercing lyrics and music as poignantly affecting as it was minimalist in its approach -- arranger Paul Buckmaster's work on strings was peculiarly muted, and the children's chorus that showed up on "Last Year's Man" was spare in its presence; balancing them was Cohen's most effective vocalizing to date, brilliantly expressive around such acclaimed songs as "Joan of Arc," "Dress Rehearsal Rag" (which had been recorded by Judy Collins five years before), and "Famous Blue Raincoat." The bleakness of the tone and subject matter ensured that he would never become a "pop" performer; even the beat-driven "Diamonds in the Mine," with its catchy children's chorus accompaniment and all, and with a twangy electric guitar accompaniment to boot, was as dark and venomous-toned a song as Columbia Records put out in 1971. And the most compelling moments -- among an embarrassment of riches -- came on lyrics like "Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc/As she came riding through the dark/No Moon to keep her armor bright/No man to get her through this night...."; indeed, hearing Cohen's lyrics 25 years on, one could almost find a burlesque of Cohen's music in the songs of Lisa Kudrow's Phoebe Buffay on Friends -- who, even money bet probably grew up on Songs of Love and Hate in her fictional bio -- and lyrics like "They found their bodies the third day...." Teenagers of the late '60s (or any era that followed) listening devotedly to Leonard Cohen might have worried their parents, but also could well have been the smartest or most sensitive kids in their class and the most well-balanced emotionally -- if they weren't depressed -- but also effectively well on their way out of being teenagers, and probably too advanced for their peers and maybe most of their teachers (except maybe the ones listening to Cohen). Songs of Love and Hate, coupled with the earlier hit versions of "Suzanne," etc., earned Cohen a large international cult following. He also found himself in demand in the world of commercial filmmaking, as director Robert Altman used his music in his 1971 feature film McCabe and Mrs. Miller, starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, a revisionist period film set at the turn of the 19th century that was savaged by the critics (and, by some accounts, sabotaged by its own studio) but went on to become one of the director's best-loved movies. The following year, he also published a new poetry collection, The Energy of Slaves. As was his wont, Cohen spent years between albums, and in 1973 he seemed to take stock of himself as a performer by issuing Leonard Cohen: Live Songs. Not a conventional live album, it was a compendium of performances from various venues across several years and focused on highlights of his output from 1969 onward. It showcased his writing as much as his performing, but also gave a good account of his appeal to his most serious fans -- those still uncertain of where they stood in relation to his music who could get past the epic-length "Please Don't Pass Me By" knew for certain they were ready to "join" the inner circle of his legion of devotees after that, while others who only appreciated "Bird on the Wire" or "The Story of Isaac" could stay comfortably on an outer ring. Meanwhile, in 1973, his music became the basis for a theatrical production called Sisters of Mercy, conceived by Gene Lesser and loosely based on Cohen's life, or at least a fantasy version of his life. A three-year lag ensued between Songs of Love and Hate and Cohen's next album, and most critics and fans just assumed he'd hit a dry spell with the live album covering the gap. He was busy concertizing, however, in the United States and Europe during 1971 and 1972, and extending his appearances into Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It was during this period that he also began working with pianist and arranger John Lissauer, whom he engaged as producer of his next album, New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974). That album seemed to justify his fans' continued faith in his work, presenting Cohen in a more lavish musical environment. He proved capable of holding his own in a pop environment, even if the songs were mostly still depressing and bleak. The following year, Columbia Records released The Best of Leonard Cohen, featuring a dozen of his best-known songs -- principally hits in the hands of other performers -- from his previous four LPs (though it left out "Dress Rehearsal Rag"). It was also during the mid-'70s that Cohen first crossed paths professionally with Jennifer Warnes, appearing on the same bill with the singer at numerous shows, which would lead to a series of key collaborations in the ensuing decade. By this time, he was a somewhat less mysterious persona, having toured extensively and gotten considerable exposure -- among many other attributes, Cohen became known for his uncanny attractiveness to women, which seemed to go hand in glove with the romantic subjects of most of his songs. In 1977, Cohen reappeared with the ironically titled Death of a Ladies' Man, the most controversial album of his career, produced by Phil Spector. The notion of pairing Spector -- known variously as a Svengali-like presence to his female singers and artists and the most unrepentant (and often justified) over-producer in the field of pop music -- with Cohen must have seemed like a good one to someone at some point, but apparently Cohen himself had misgivings about many of the resulting tracks that Spector never addressed, having mixed the record completely on his own. The resulting LP suffered from the worst attributes of Cohen's and Spector's work, overly dense and self-consciously imposing in its sound, and virtually bathing the listener in Cohen's depressive persona, but showing his limited vocal abilities to disadvantage, owing to Spector's use of "scratch" (i.e., guide) vocals and his unwillingness to permit the artist to redo some of his weaker moments on those takes. For the first (and only) time in Cohen's career, his near-monotone delivery of this period wasn't a positive attribute. Cohen's unhappiness with the album was widely known among fans, who mostly bought it with that caveat in mind, so it didn't harm his reputation -- a year after its release, Cohen also published a new literary collection using the title Death of a Ladies' Man. Cohen's next album, Recent Songs (1979), returned him to the spare settings of his early-'70s work and showed his singing to some of its best advantage. Working with veteran producer Henry Lewy (best known for his work with Joni Mitchell), the album showed Cohen's singing as attractive and expressive in its quiet way, and songs such as "The Guests" seeming downright pretty -- he still wrote about life and love, and especially relationships, in stark terms, but he almost seemed to be moving into a pop mode on numbers such as "Humbled in Love." Frank Sinatra never needed to look over his shoulder at Cohen (at least, as a singer), but he did seem to be trying for a slicker pop sound at moments on his record. Then came 1984, and two key new works in Cohen's output -- the poetic/religious volume The Book of Mercy and the album Various Positions (1984). The latter, recorded with Jennifer Warnes, is arguably his most accessible album of his entire career up to that time -- Cohen's voice, now a peculiarly expressive baritone instrument, found a beautiful pairing with Warnes, and the songs were as fine as ever, steeped in spirituality and sexuality, with "Dance Me to the End of Love" a killer opener: a wry, doom-laden yet impassioned pop-style ballad that is impossible to forget. Those efforts overlapped with some ventures by the composer/singer into other creative realms, including an award-winning short film that he wrote, directed, and scored, entitled I Am a Hotel, and the score for the 1985 conceptual film Night Magic, which earned a Juno Award in Canada for Best Movie Score. Sad to say, Various Positions went relatively unnoticed, and was followed by another extended sabbatical from recording, which ended with I'm Your Man (1988). But during his hiatus, Warnes had released her album of Cohen-authored material, entitled Famous Blue Raincoat, which had sold extremely well and introduced Cohen to a new generation of listeners. So when I'm Your Man did appear, with its electronic production (albeit still rather spare) and songs that added humor (albeit dark humor) to his mix of pessimistic and poetic conceits, the result was his best-selling record in more than a decade. The result, in 1991, was the release of I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen, a CD of recordings of his songs by the likes of R.E.M., the Pixies, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and John Cale, which put Cohen as a songwriter pushing age 60 right back on center stage for the 1990s. He rose to the occasion, releasing The Future, an album that dwelt on the many threats facing mankind in the coming years and decades, a year later. Not the stuff of pop charts or MTV heavy rotation, it attracted Cohen's usual coterie of fans, and enough press interest as well as sufficient sales, to justify the release in 1994 of his second concert album, Cohen Live, derived from his two most recent tours. A year later came another tribute album, Tower of Song, featuring Cohen's songs as interpreted by Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, et al. In the midst of all of this new activity surrounding his writing and compositions, Cohen embarked on a new phase of his life. Religious concerns were never too far from his thinking and work, even when he was making a name for himself writing songs about love, and he had focused even more on this side of life since Various Positions. He came to spend time at the Mt. Baldy Zen Center, a Buddhist retreat in California, and eventually became a full-time resident, becoming a Buddhist monk during the late '90s. When he re-emerged in 1999, Cohen had many dozens of new compositions in hand, songs and poems alike. His new collaborations were with singer/songwriter/musician Sharon Robinson, who also ended up producing the resulting album, Ten New Songs (2001) -- there also emerged during this period a release called Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979, comprised of live recordings from his tour of 22 years before. In 2004, the year he turned 70, Cohen released one of the most controversial albums of his career, Dear Heather. It revealed his voice anew, in this phase of his career, as a deep baritone more limited in range than on any previous recording, but it overcame this change in vocal timbre by facing it head-on, just as Cohen had done with his singing throughout his career -- it also contained a number of songs for which Cohen wrote music but not lyrics, a decided change of pace for a man who'd started out as a poet. And it was as personal a record as Cohen had ever issued. His return to recording was one of the more positive aspects of Cohen's resumption of his music activities. On another side, in 2005, he filed suit against his longtime business manager and his financial advisor over the alleged theft of more than five million dollars, at least some of which took place during his years at the Buddhist retreat. Four decades after he emerged as a public literary figure and then a performer, Cohen remains one of the most compelling and enigmatic musical figures of his era, and one of the very few of that era who commands as much respect and attention, and probably as large an audience, in the 21st century as he did in the 1960s. As much as any survivor of that decade, Cohen has held onto his original audience and has seen it grow across generations, in keeping with a body of music that is truly timeless and ageless. In 2006, his enduring influence seemed to be acknowledged in Lions Gate Films' release of Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, director Lian Lunson's concert/portrait of Cohen and his work and career. A performance set, Live in London, was released in 2009. In 2010, the DVD/CD package Songs from the Road was issued, documenting his 2008 world tour and revisiting songs from each part of his career. The tour covered 84 dates and sold over 700,000 tickets worldwide.