Melvin James – The Passenger (1987)

Former leader of power poppers Crash Street Kids goes solo with major label.
Melvin James is a name unknown to many, but residents in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota should remember this fellow going way back into the 80’s. Bought up on a diet of 70’s greats where all the usual suspects crossed his turntable (Cooper, Purple, Heep, Bowie, T-Rex etc), James was a self taught guitarist who apparently had his first ever gig at the tender age of 14. By his late teens, James had moved to Minneapolis, formed the band Crash Street Kids, who released an acclaimed debut album on Fat City Records. He spent six years with that band before the label went belly-up. Undeterred, Melvin was a prolific songwriter with enough material to go in search of solo deal. A few showcases later, James was snapped up by MCA, who won out in an apparent bidding war!
The resulting debut album, ‘The Passenger’, was released in 1987, and would prove to be James’ only solo release up to this point. When listening to this, you can’t help admire the sound, which really sounds as if it is a better fit around the new wave/power pop era from the 1979/1981 era. For reference points, I hear guys like Mikael ErlandssonGlen Burtnick and Tommy Keene. Interesting to see Dik Shopteau (previously with Minnesota legends Judd and the Daisy Dillman Band) in the credits, along with well renowned drummer Joe Vitale, who is also a solo artist in his own right (refer his album ‘Plantation Harbor’). Perhaps the most recognisable track here is the opener ‘Why Won’t You Stay (Come In, Come Out Of The Rain)’. A video was made of this song (refer below). Other highlights include the expansive ‘We Hear The Thunder’, the 80’s synth pop of ‘She’s So Sorry’, the pulsy pop/rock sound of ‘Loving You Is Strange’ or the big arena rock that emanates from the grooves of ‘Sugar Candy’.

Unfortunately James’ time at MCA ended when the label had a broom swept down the halls of senior management – he along with a few others were dropped from the label. ‘The Passenger’ peaked at 146 in 1987, and the single ‘Why Won’t You Stay’ made it onto Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, though I hardly think that actually means anything. In the ‘where is he now’ stakes, James is now in the band Planet Melvin, playing alongside his son (Melvin James Jnr), who plays drums. The guys are still at it today. For an 80’s blast of power pop/rock in the vein of Glen Burtnick, ‘The Passenger’ is worthy of your investigation.

Tracklist

1. Why Won’t You Stay (Come In, Come Out of the Rain)  (4:28)
2. We Hear the Thunder  (4:52)
3. Telephone  (4:12)
4. Passenger  (4:05)
5. Loving You Is Strange  (4:21)
6. Twisted  (4:00)
7. She’s So Sorry  (3:38)
8. Sugar Candy  (4:03)
9. Devil with a Halo  (3:11)

Personnel

Melvin James Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Percussion
Gordy KnudtsonPye Prochowitz Drums
Joe Vitale Drums, Synthesizer
Dik Shopteau Bass
Dave Hern Bass Synthesizer

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: August 24, 1987
Genre: Rock
Style: AOR
Length: 36:53

Label – MCA Records

Rebbie Jackson – Centipede (1984)

Maureen Reillette “Rebbie” Jackson (born May 29, 1950) is an American singer. Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, she is the eldest child of the Jackson family of musicians.
Centipede is the debut album by American singer Rebbie Jackson. Released on the Columbia label in Autumn 1984, the album spawned two top-forty Billboard charting hits, the most famous being the title track.

Although the Jacksons are R&B’s most famous family, being a Jackson never guaranteed longevity. Take Rebbie Jackson, for example. In the 1980s, the sister of Michael, Janet, Tito, Randy, LaToya, Marlon, Jermaine, and Jackie Jackson had her 15 minutes of fame, but despite being very well connected, she never headlined Madison Square Garden. None of her albums had the impact of Janet‘s Control, let alone Michael‘s Thriller. But she did enjoy a lot of publicity in 1984, when Columbia released her debut album, Centipede. Written and produced by Michael, the alluring title song became a major hit and is a jewel of a single. But the other tracks aren’t fantastic — pleasant, but not fantastic. As Rebbie‘s critics were quick to point out in 1984, she doesn’t have a great voice — nor does Janet, for that matter, and despite her limitations as a singer, Janet has delivered some truly stunning albums. But while Janet had Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to help her excel on classics like Control and Rhythm Nation 1814, Rebbie doesn’t get that sort of encouragement on Centipede. Most of the tracks were produced by Wayne Henderson, who has an impressive track record but doesn’t enable her to go that extra mile. Henderson sees to it that she is pleasant on “Open Up My Love” and a remake of Smokey Robinson‘s “A Fork in the Road,” but while this LP simmers, it rarely burns. One track that is especially revealing is Rebbie‘s version of Prince‘s “I Feel for You,” which Chaka Khan also covered in 1984. While Khan‘s interpretation is stunning, Rebbie‘s is merely decent. And that is true of the album on the whole — Centipede is a decent record, but except for the title song, it isn’t a great one.

Tracklist

1. “Centipede” (Michael Jackson) – 4:25
2. “Come Alive It’s Saturday Night” (Marlon Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson) – 4:13
3. “Hey Boy” (Tito Jackson, Delores Jackson, Michael McKinney) – 4:38
4. “Open Up to My Love” (Jon Springer, Don Daniels, Mary Stewart) – 4:10
5. “Play Me (I’m a Jukebox)” (Pam Tillis, Jan Buckingham) – 3:27
6. “I Feel for You” (Prince) – 3:54
7. “A Fork in the Road” (Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, Ronnie White) – 3:46
8. “Ready for Love” (Frank Hamilton III) – 3:00

Personnel

  • Rebbie Jackson – vocals
  • David Williams, Charles Fearing – guitar
  • Nathan East, Nathaniel Phillips – bass
  • Frank “Rusty” Hamilton – Moog bass, keyboards, synthesizer
  • Randy Jackson, Bobby Lyle, John Springer – keyboards
  • Nick Johnson, John Barnes – synthesizer
  • Mike Hightower – DMX programmer
  • Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, Alvino Bennett – drums
  • Jerry Kaye – flugelhorn
  • Michael Jackson, Weather Girls (Izora Armstead, Martha Wash), Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Gwen Matthews, Marlena Jeter, Maxi Anderson, Garry Glenn, Patryce Banks, John Springer – backing vocals

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: October 10, 1984
Recorded: 1983–1984
Genre: Soul / Funk
Length: 31:39

Label – Columbia Records

Instant Funk – The Funk Is On (1980)

Instant Funk were an American 1970s and 1980s disco band, best known for their disco classic, “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)“.

Instant Funk came out of Trenton, New Jersey consisting of Raymond Earl, drummer Scotty Miller and guitarist Kim Miller. The group was then called The Music Machine and they were very successful as a back-up band for The Manhattans, Bunny Sigler and also the TNJs. Throughout their careers, Instant Funk would be the back-up band for many stars, including Lou Rawls, Loleatta Holloway, The O’Jays, MFSB, Curtis Mayfield and Evelyn Champagne King (they are the backing band on the hit single, “Shame”).
The group relocated to Philadelphia in 1976 to release its first album, as they started to formulate their own sound.

On their third Salsoul album, The Funk Is On, Philly soul band Instant Funk shows an acute pop music sensibility. But funk fans need not worry, this album lives up to its title; the band still funks. The title track single, written by Brass Construction‘s Randy Muller, is pure, unadulterated funk. The same could be said for the gritty “You Want My Love.” The second single, “Everybody,” has a serious bounce groove along the lines of Zapp‘s “More Bounce to the Ounce” or Vaughn Mason’s “Bounce, Skate, Rock, Roll.” The Larry Levan 12″ extended remix clocked in at 8:47 and features Jack Faith‘s dynamic arrangement and James Carmichael’s arousing guttural groans towards the track’s climax. The funny, plucky “Funk-n-Roll” has yodels. The snappy “It’s Cool” is a skater’s favorite and shows off some deft guitar and bass. The third single was the sweet, simmering ballad “What Can I Do for You” that should have given the band its first hit ballad. Producer Bunny Sigler shows the band’s lighter side on the melodic, swing jazz-flavored “Can You See Where I’m Coming From” and the upbeat “You’re Not Getting Older.”

Tracklist

A1. The Funk Is On – 4:40
Arranged By – Instant Funk
Written-By – Randy Muller

A2. Everybody – 5:31
Arranged By – Jack Faith
Mixed By – Larry Levan
Written-By – Dennis Richardson

A3. You Want My Love – 4:23
Arranged By – Bunny Sigler
Written-By, Arranged By – Raymond Earl, Scotty Miller

A4. Funk-N-Roll – 4:16
Written-By, Arranged By – Johnny Onderlinde

B1. It’s Cool – 5:25
Arranged By – Johnny Onderlinde, Larry Davis, Noel Closson
Written-By – Noel Closson

B2. What Can I Do For You – 4:00
Written-By, Arranged By – Kim Miller

B3. Can You See Where I’m Coming From – 4:16
Arranged By – Jack Faith
Written-By – Bunny Sigler, Jimmy Sigler

B4. You’re Not Getting Older – 4:24
Arranged By – Jack Faith
Written-By – Bunny Sigler

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Release Date: 1981
Recording Location: Sigma Studios, Philadelphia, PA
Genre: Soul
Styles: Disco, Funk
Duration: 36:33

Label – Salsoul Records

Don Henley – Cass County (2015)

Cass County is the fifth solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Don Henley. The album was released on September 25, 2015, by Past Masters Holdings and Capitol Records. It is Don Henley’s first new solo album in 15 years since 2000’s Inside Job.

Don Henley doesn’t move fast because he can afford not to hurry. He can spend the better part of a decade waiting out a record contract, labor on a 90-minute Eagles reunion for maybe half a decade, then take another eight years before returning with Cass County, his first solo album in 15 years and only fifth overall. That’s the mark of a man who takes his time, but all that chronology pales compared to the true journey Cass County represents: a return to Henley‘s country roots, whether they lie in the blissed-out, mellow sunshine of Southern California or the Texas home that provides this record with its name. According to prerelease scuttlebutt, the album began as a covers project — on the deluxe edition, there are remnants of this record, including a poignant “She Sang Hymns Out of Tune” and a duet with Dolly Parton on the Louvin Brothers‘ “When I Stop Dreaming” — and the album does begin with a version of Tift Merritt‘s “Bramble Rose” that finds space for both Mick Jagger and Miranda Lambert, a sign of the star firepower on Cass County. Plenty of other guests pop up here, including Merle Haggard and Martina McBride, although there’s no doubting Henley is the center of Cass County, but the nice thing about the record is that he’s not calling attention to himself, not in the way he did when he loaded up albums with somber six-minute anthems. For the first time in decades — four, to be precise; One of These Nights was the last time he explicitly dabbled in country-rock — Henley prefers to paint on a small canvas, abandoning sociological epics for tales of longing and heartbreak. He’ll still adopt a cynical sneer — “No, Thank You” is quintessential spiteful contrarianism, salvaged by a boogie borrowed from “Achy Breaky Heart” — and the elegiac “Praying for Rain” disguises its environmental activist heart in the form of sun-bleached hippie country, but the shift to expertly constructed miniatures benefits Henley considerably, pushing the focus onto his skill as a craftsman while also suggesting how, in the age of bro-country, this kind of cosmic American music functions as a traditional throwback. This is also where Henley‘s stubbornness winds up as an asset: he doesn’t feel like he’s succumbing to either nostalgia or the present; he stoically carries on according to the way things ought to be, and, against all odds, he winds up with a record that’s not only easier to enjoy than most of his solo records, but also stronger song for song than many of the early Eagles albums.

Tracklist

1. “Bramble Rose” (featuring Mick Jagger & Miranda Lambert) – 4:30
2. “The Cost of Living” (featuring Merle Haggard) – 3:40
3. “No, Thank You” (featuring Vince Gill) – 3:45
4. “Waiting Tables” (featuring Jamey Johnson and Lee Ann Womack) – 4:47
5. “Take a Picture of This” – 4:06
6. “Too Far Gone” (featuring Alison Krauss and Jamey Johnson) – 3:43
7. “That Old Flame” (featuring Martina McBride) – 4:25
8. “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz” (featuring Alison Krauss) – 3:20
9. “Words Can Break Your Heart” (featuring Trisha Yearwood) – 3:40
10. “When I Stop Dreaming” (featuring Dolly Parton) 3:06
11. “Praying for Rain” (featuring Molly Felder, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Ashley Monroe, Trisha Yearwood) – 5:00
12. “Too Much Pride”  – 3:45
13. “She Sang Hymns Out of Tune” (featuring Court Yard Hounds and Ashley Monroe) – 3:15
14. “Train In the Distance” (featuring Lucinda Williams) – 4:47
15. “A Younger Man” – 4:20
16. “Where I Am Now” (featuring Trisha Yearwood) – 2:34

Target deluxe edition bonus tracks
17. “It Don’t Matter To The Sun” (featuring Stevie Nicks) – 3:40
18. “Here Comes Those Tears Again” (featuring Alison Krauss) – 3:50

Companies, etc.

Credits

Personnel

Notes
Released: September 25, 2015
Recorded: 2014–2015
Genre: Country, rock
Length: 110:23

Label – Capitol Records

INXS – Dekadance (EP) (1983)

Issued in the United States only, this four-track EP was released in 1983 (The Best Year For Music Ever!) to capitalize on INXS’ breakthrough earlier in the year with the single “The One Thing”. That song is included here in a nice extended version, along with longer remixes of Shabooh Shoobah tracks “Black and White” and “To Look At You”.

A re-recorded, moodier version of “Here Comes” (also originally from Shabooh) fills out the EP.

Dekadance is the title of two different collections of remixes by Australian rock group INXS: a 1983 four-track 12″ and cassette EP released in the United States of songs from Shabooh Shoobah; and a 1984 seven-track cassette released in Australia of songs from The Swing.
The latter included a cover version of “Jackson” as a duet by INXS’ Michael Hutchence with Jenny Morris, their backing singer. This compilation peaked at No. 2 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart in April 1985.

Tracklist

1.”Black and White” (extended version) – 4:54
2.”To Look at You” (extended version) – 6:26
3.”The One Thing” (extended version) – 6:06
4.”Here Comes II” (new version) – 3:27

Tracks are written by Andrew Farriss, mostly with Michael Hutchence.

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: April 1984
Recorded: 1983
Genre: Rock, Dance
Total length: 20:53

Label – WEA Records

Chris Isaak – Speak Of The Devil (1998)

Speak of the Devil is the seventh studio album by the American rock musician Chris Isaak, released in 1998.

Speak of the Devil explores the same moody terrain as Chris Isaak‘s previous records, though the songs are fleshed out with more contemporary touches. The leadoff track, “Please,” is unusually hard-hitting, with its acoustic/electric/soft/crash structure, Mellotron, and soundbite lyrics. “I’m Not Sleepy” is a roots rock rave-up (wherein Isaak lyrically quotes Lennon‘s “Oh Yoko”: “In the middle of the night I cry your name”); the title cut is an eerie celebration of love lost and found; “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Home” is the album’s tour de force. Yet, some of the loungy vocal touches in “Flying” and the final instrumental track, “Super Magic 2000,” would be right at home on an indie rock record. And of course there’s plenty of that thing Isaak does best: quintessential love’s-gone-wrong-‘n’-let’s-make-it-right songs, as on the loping, country-tinged “This Time” and the teary “Walk Slow.”

Tracklist

1. “Please” – 3:34
2. “Flying” – 3:08
3. “Walk Slow” – 3:01
4. “Breaking Apart” – 3:45
5. “This Time” – 3:13
6. “Speak of the Devil” – 3:31
7. “Like the Way She Moves” – 2:50
8. “Wanderin'” – 2:42
9. “Don’t Get So Down on Yourself” – 3:11
10. “Black Flowers” – 2:44
11. “I’m Not Sleepy” – 2:37
12. “7 Lonely Nights” – 2:10
13. “Talkin’ ’bout a Home” – 4:45
14. “Super Magic 2000” – 3:45

All tracks written by Chris Isaak, except “Breaking Apart” by Isaak and Diane Warren.

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: 22 September 1998
Genre: Rockabilly, roots rock
Length: 44:55

Label – Reprise Records

Isis – Isis (1974)

Isis is the Egyptian goddess of fertility, represented as wearing a cow’s horns and solar disk on her head, according to the World Book Dictionary, and the name was perhaps most appropriate for this ’70s band, though a Latin group, a rapper, and a metal band all have released records under the same name. Those artists have nothing to do with this interesting and highly experimental project. With production by Shadow Morton the same year he produced the New York Dolls’ second LP, In Too Much Too Soon, two former members of Goldie & the Gingerbreads debut on Buddah with a self-titled eclectic jazz/rock amalgam. As Gingerbreads’ lead singer Goldie Zelkowitz re-emerged as Genya Ravan, both Carol MacDonald and drummer Ginger Bianco redefined their musical vision, developing this somewhat original concept with horns, congas, bongos, and heavy emphasis on the all-girl band which Goldie & the Gingerbreads pioneered. Sporting an album cover rife with Egyptian imagery much like Yoko Ono’s album from the year before, the 1973 epic Feeling the Space, Isis take it a step further, the cover photo sporting the eight women encased in silver via Jon Stevens’ “metal images” which are “precise reproductions of the human form.” Reproductions or no, the band is still totally naked on the front cover under palm trees, a pyramid, and a purple sky. It was striking for the time and hinted at glam rock. Although there is barely any of that element here, perhaps some of the guitar psychedelia on “Servant Saviour” would suffice as that, resplendent in mellow versions of Black Sabbath riffs, but the style vocally and musically is very much like a less-focused Ten Wheel Drive. MacDonald emulates Genya Ravan singing, and much of the music parallels the Ten Wheel Drive sound.

There are 16 naked photos of the chrome silver gals on the back cover flanked by color photos of the Sphynx. No wonder the rumor mill had David Bowie singing their praises, just as the Rolling Stones were enamored of Goldie & the Gingerbreads. “She Loves Me” can’t be any more specific; it’s a bluesy ballad and one of the album’s best moments. As blatant as the title is, the song comes across more subtle. Seven of the nine tunes were written by the former Gingerbreads Carol MacDonald and Ginger Bianco, and they shift gears perhaps too much for the album’s own good. How prophetic. The bisexual female character on Star Trek Voyager two-and-a-half decades later would be called “7 of 9” — and as Bowie had much success with the gay theme, it should have been more of a factor. “Cocaine Elaine” has a bluesy New Orleans feel with wonderful backing vocals, but the musical genres jump so much it feels like a movie soundtrack. 1975’s follow-up album was produced by Allen Toussaint and featured June Millington from another significant pioneering all-girl group, Fanny, but sadly, this Isis only put out two albums.

Tracklist

A1. “Waiting For The Sonrise”  (Written-By – C. MacDonald, G. Bianco) – 5:30
A2. “Everybody Needs A Forever”  (Written-By – C. MacDonald) – 4:54
A3. “Servant Saviour”  (Written-By – C. MacDonald, G. Bianco) – 8:00
A4. “Rubber Boy”  (Written-By – C. MacDonald, G. Bianco) – 7:02

B1. “April Fool”  (Written-By – J. Fineberg) – 5:22
B2. “Bitter Sweet”  (Written-By – C. MacDonald) – 4:10
B3. “Do The Football”  (Written-By – S. Bass) – 3:00
B4. “She Loves Me”  (Written-By – C. MacDonald, G. Bianco) – 4:42
B5. “Cocaine Elaine”  (Written-By – C. MacDonald, G. Bianco) – 3:05

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released:  1974
Genre: Rock, Funk / Soul
Style: Funk, Psychedelic
Length: 43:53

Label – Buddah Records ‎

Indecent Obsession – Indecent Obsession (1990)

Indecent Obsession (also seen as Obsession) were an Australian pop rock band formed early in 1987 in Brisbane with founding mainstays Daryl Sims on drums and Michael Szumowski on keyboards. By 1988 the line-up also included Andrew Coyne on lead guitar and David Dixon on lead vocals. The band’s name refers to Colleen McCullough‘s 1981 novel, An Indecent Obsession and the related 1984 feature film of the same name. Dixon and Szumowski had met through their voice teacher. In 1988 Daryl Sims joined on drums and Paul O’Donnell on guitar. O’Donnell was replaced by Andrew Coyne on guitar. For a year-and-a-half they performed in the local pub rock scene and recorded demos. Sims later recalled that they were “underaged, playing in pubs in Brisbane up to Cairns, all the mining towns in between”. Initially they played cover versions of material by Duran Duran, INXS, Crowded House and George Michael. They signed with Ian “Molly” Meldrum‘s record label, Melodian.[ Meldrum had hosted Countdown (1974–1987), a TV pop music show; and had contacts in the music industry including with Mushroom Records, which distributed material by Melodian’s artists.

This is the kind of music that’s been influenced by many artists and movements of pop music that went before, which of course everybody does, but this band didn’t appropriate these styles with any real conviction. It’s kind of like listening to the greatest music movements of the 80’s (this album was made in 1992) as made by a generic poser band like Survivor (“Eye of the Tiger”) or Frank Stallone’s band (remember Sly’s brother’s band from the 70’s? Didn’t think so.) Throw in a little Duran Duran, a little new romantics, a little George Michael, a little Billy Idol, some really faux Prince grooves, some hair and spandex band, synth pop this, synth pop that, a lot of swagger attitude and mix liberally in the studio. It’s whiffs and hints of literally every power pop thing you heard from 1978 to 1992. I imagine anybody listening would start into a song and say, “That’s not a bad groove.” And then they’d say, “That’s not a bad hook.” Then they’d start bopping their heads and really trying to get into the song then the lyrics don’t quite hit the right mood or the the listener finally figures out the groove isn’t really in the pocket or they finally realize the hook isn’t that great. Go to the next song and repeat the same experience. A little disappointing. I really want to root for every band. Maybe it was the mix of guys in the band or maybe the producer pushing them into material that really didn’t fit. Whatever the cause this seems like the kind of pop music that gets made for TV when the TV producer wants something that sounds vaguely like something else but doesn’t want to pay for the rights.

North America Indecent Obsession release

  1. Tell Me Something” – 4:19
  2. “Going Down” – 3:53
  3. Say Goodbye” – 4:47
  4. “Dream After Dream” – 4:21
  5. “Never Gonna Stop” – 3:51
  6. “Spoken Words” – 3:31
  7. “Survive the Heat” – 5:25
  8. Come Back to Me” – 4:49
  9. “Nowhere to Hide” – 4:11
  10. “Believe” – 4:30

Credits

  • Drums, percussion – Darryl Sims
  • Guitar – Andrew Coyne
  • Keyboards – Michael Szumowski
  • Lead vocals – David Dixon
  • Producer(s) – Michael Szumowski, Ian MacKenzie, Jeremy Smith, Mark Berry, Mark Forrester.

Notes
Released: November 1989
Genre: Pop, synthpop
Length: 43:41

Label – Melodian Records, MCA Records

Jack´s Mannequin – Everything In Transit (2005)

Jack’s Mannequin was an American rock band formed in 2004, hailing from Orange County, California. The band originally began as a solo project for Andrew McMahon, the frontman of Something Corporate. The band was signed to Maverick Records and released Everything in Transit in August 2005, peaking at 37 on the Billboard 200.

According to Kaj Roth of Melodic, Everything in Transit is a concept album, which deals with Andrew McMahon‘s “alienating return to the hometown he left to pursue his music, and the dissolution of a long, meaningful relationship because of it.” The songs were written during his first summer in years outside of Something Corporate, which McMahon spent scribbling lyrics accompanied by drawings into a private sketchbook, selected pages of which can be accessed through a web-link to a secret homepage on the enhanced CD portion of the album. The song meanings are at times more cryptic than one might be used to from McMahon’s Something Corporate songs, as the lyrics describe a more personal view on feelings and situations and all take advantage of a first person’s narrative style.

The project took almost two years from the first songs being written and recorded to the final product hitting the music store shelves. McMahon spent more than $40,000 of his own savings on the production, before being picked up by Maverick Records.

McMahon has stated “Bruised” to be his favorite song on the record. Bruised is also featured on the compilation Punk Goes Acoustic 2.

When first written, the song “La La Lie” was originally titled “West Coast Winter” and featured a different chorus. The original demo was released in late 2006 on the band’s website. Part of its lyrics had since been adapted in “The Lights and Buzz”.

“Dark Blue” was the last song recorded for the CD. It is about the months McMahon and his fiancée (now wife) spent separated from one another.[3] The song title is in reference to a blue lightbulb used in the bedroom he shared with her in their Arizona home. The Something Corporate song “She Paints Me Blue” is taken from the same idea.

“Kill the Messenger” was the first song to be released from the band, available on the Drive-Thru Records and PureVolume compilation Bands You Love, Have Heard of, and Should Know.

The final chorus of track 10, “MFEO”, repeatedly picks up the line “Where are you now?” with the same intonation as earlier on in the song “The Mixed Tape”, which in a way bookends the album.

The bonus track “Into the Airwaves” deals with a long-distance relationship, that is bridged by McMahon “slipping into the airwaves”. Ironically, the individual McMahon wrote the song about moved back to California before he even recorded the song

Tracklist

1. “Holiday from Real” – 2:58
2. “The Mixed Tape” – 3:14
3. “Bruised” – 4:02
4. “I’m Ready” – 3:55
5. “La La Lie” – 3:54
6. “Dark Blue” – 4:11
7. “Miss Delaney” – 3:44
8. “Kill the Messenger” – 3:24
9. “Rescued” – 3:56
10. “MFEO Pt 1 – Made for Each Other – 2:28
11. “MFEO Pt 2 – You Can Breathe” – 4:12
12. “Into the Airwaves” – 4:07
13. “Lonely For Her” – 3:29

All tracks written by Andrew McMahon.

Personnel

Credits

Notes
Released: August 23, 2005
Recorded at: Studio 4th Street Recording, Santa Monica, California
Genre: Alternative rock
Length: 45:33

Label – Maverick Records

Bruce Hornsby – Halcyon Days (2004)

Halcyon Days is the eighth studio album by American singer and pianist Bruce Hornsby. The album, recorded with his touring band the Noisemakers, was released in 2004. It was Hornsby’s first release with Columbia Records. One song, “What The Hell Happened”, has been described as a rare example of the use of bitonality in a pop piece.

The album marked a return to a more acoustic, piano-driven sound that reviewers described as “pure Hornsby”. Guests included Sting, Elton John and Eric Clapton. The tracks “Gonna Be Some Changes Made,” “Candy Mountain Run,” “Dreamland,” and “Circus On The Moon” became concert staples, each showcasing the diversity of Hornsby’s improvisations and the Noisemakers’ live sound. Notably, Halcyon Days also includes a suite of solo piano songs—”What The Hell Happened,” “Hooray For Tom,” and “Heir Gordon”—which all have a “Randy Newman pastiche.” Although the album was markedly less-risk-taking than Big Swing Face, it would be well-received as a “winning balance of [Hornsby’s] tuneful and adventurous sides.”

The lead track of Halcyon Days, “Gonna Be Some Changes Made” — subtly echoing “The Way It Is” in its piano work — continues this affirmation of progress. Too bad then that the rest of the album slowly works to erase this growth. Still, the first half of Halcyon Days, while much less ambitious than Big Swing Face, starts off promisingly enough. From the poppy “Changes” to the soothing title track, Hornsby delivers an agreeable, if overlong, set of songs. But the latter half quickly loses focus, stumbling with tracks like the attempted Randy Newman pastiche “What the Hell Happened?,” the goofy “Heir Gordon” — which both succumb to Hornsby‘s latter-day proclivity for piano noodling — and “Song F,” a seeming leftover from Spirit Trail. At his best, Hornsby is both an accomplished musician and a great storyteller, able to slip into the shoes of his characters, whether it’s the lonely worker of “Every Little Kiss,” the interracial couple in “Talk of the Town,” or the strip-club doorman of “Walk in the Sun.” But in many of Halcyon Days‘ songs, he often seems more interested in weird wordplay. What’s missing is the sense of time and place, and the in-the-moment clarity that defines his classic songs. In its place is an off-putting cleverness. After the pleasant shock of Big Swing Face, Hornsby‘s follow-up is a strangely middling effort that won’t win new fans or satiate the devoted. In its own restrained way, it’s a bid for commercial airplay, with guest stars Elton John, Sting, and Eric Clapton all doing their part for the cause. But instead of the polished work it should be, Halcyon Days has the haphazard feel of a collection of outtakes and B-sides.

“Gonna Be Some Changes Made” was used in several Lowe’s commercials from 2006

Tracklist

1. “Gonna Be Some Changes Made” – 5:22
2 .”Candy Mountain Run” (with Eric Clapton) – 5:15
3. “Dreamland” (duet with Elton John) – 5:05
4. “Circus on the Moon” – 6:32
5. “Halcyon Days” (duet with Sting) – 5:58
6. “What the Hell Happened” – 4:22
7. “Hooray For Tom” – 3:56
8. “Heir Gordon” – 4:24
9 .”Mirror On The Wall” – 5:42
10 .”Song F” – 4:13
11. “Lost in the Snow” – 5:08

All songs written by Bruce Hornsby.

Musicians

  • Bruce Hornsbypiano, keyboards, vocals
  • J. V. Collier – bass
  • Sonny Emorydrums
  • Bobby Read – clarinet (on “Circus on the Moon”, “What the Hell Happened”, “Heir Gordon” and “Lost in the Snow”)
  • Doug Derryberry – guitar (on “Circus on the Moon”)
  • John “J. T.” Thomas – organ, orchestra arrangements (on “Lost in the Snow”)
  • Sting – vocals (on “Gonna Be Some Changes Made” and “Halcyon Days”)
  • Elton John – vocals (on “Dreamland”)
  • Eric Claptonguitar (on “Gonna Be Some Changes Made”, “Candy Mountain Run” and “Halcyon Days”), vocals (on “Candy Mountain Run”)
  • R. S. Hornsby – guitar (on “Candy Mountain Run” and “Mirror on the Wall”)
  • Wayne Pooley – guitar (on “Halcyon Days” and “Mirror on the Wall”)
  • Bonny Bonaparte – percussion (on “Circus on the Moon”)
  • Peter Harris – orchestra arrangements (on “Dreamland” and “Hooray for Tom”)
  • Lloyd Johns – background vocals (on “Dreamland”)
  • Woody Green – background vocals (on “Dreamland”)
  • Ralph Payne – background vocals (on “Dreamland”)
  • Donnie Struckey – background vocals (on “Dreamland”)
  • Double basses – Kurt Muroki and Satosh Okamoto
  • Cellos – Elizabeth Dyson, Jeanne LeBlanc, Elieen Moon and Sarah Seiver.
  • Violas – David Creswell, Karen Dreyfus, Dawn Hannay, Vivek Kamath, Sue Prey and Robert Reinhart.
  • Violins – Duoming Ba, Maryia Borozina, Jeanne Ingraham, Lisa Kim, Myung-Hi Kim, Sarah Kim, Soohyun Kwon, Matt Lehmann, Ayano Ninomiya, Suzanne Ornstein, Sandra Park, Dan Reed, Michael Roth, Laura Seaton, Fiona Simon, Paul Woodiel, Sharon Yamada and Jung Sun Yoo.

Production

  • Producers – Bruce Hornsby and Wayne Pooley
  • A&R – Lennie Meat
  • Production Coordination – Moonie Geiger
  • Engineer – Wayne Pooley
  • Additional Engineering – Simon Climie, Alan Douglas, Brian Garten, Kevin Halpin and Matt Still.
  • Recorded at Tossington Sound (Williamsburg, VA).
  • Additional Recording at Olympic Studios (London, UK), Right Track Recording (New York City, NY) and Silent Sound Studios (Atlanta, GA).
  • Pro Tools at Olympic Studios by Simon Climie.
  • Mixed by Bruce Hornsby and Dagle
  • Additional mixing on “Gonna Be Some Changes Made” by Tony Maserati.
  • Mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound (New York City, NY).
  • Production Assistance – Patti Oates Martin
  • Art Direction – Dave Bett
  • Logo Design – Jay Flom
  • Photography – Sean Smith
  • Management – John Scher
  • Enthusiast – Al Hilbert
  • Cfo- Melissa Reagan
  • Roadcrew – Peter Banta, Gary Chrosniak, Caldwell Gray and Wayne Pooley.

Notes
Released: August 17, 2004
Recorded At: Tossington Sound
Genre: Rock/Jazz
Length: 55:56

Label – Columbia Records