Jerry Harrison: Casual Gods – Walk On Water (1990)

Walk on Water was the third and (to date) last solo album by Talking Heads keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Harrison.

Jerry Harrison was so impressed with the performance of his backup band on his 1988 tour that he brought them back around to share billing on his third album, Walk on Water. It’s ironic, then, that none of his star players and partisans feature audibly on the recording. The soulful backing of vocalists Dollette McDonald and Nona Hendryx creep into the mix from time to time, as does Bernie Worrell‘s blistering keyboard work, but it’s clear that Harrison has chosen Walk on Water, his first post-Talking Heads album, to be a stylistic departure from his earlier works. For one, the dense, syncopated textures from his previous albums have given way to a significantly more laid-back and monorhythmic feel. No doubt Harrison felt a simpler, pop-oriented approach would seem less self-conscious than his tense, meticulous early material. Tension, however, has always been an important quality in Jerry Harrison‘s music. Without it, his songs suffer here, as listenable but vaguely unremarkable tunes. Harrison brings his political activism to the fore, too, most notably in “I Cry for Iran” and “Cowboy’s Got to Go.” Unfortunately, the lyrics come across heavy-handed and lack personality, hardly benefiting from the sparser production. It’s only when Harrison truly lets his guard down that Walk on Water succeeds. A handful of surprisingly tender ballads manage to buoy the album up from mediocrity. “If the Rains Return” is an affectionate ode to a lover with a lush tropical backdrop, while the exquisite lullaby “Sleep Angel” seems to channel Chris Isaak with its silvery steel guitar and husky vocal delivery.

Tracklist

1.”Flying Under Radar” (Harrison, Dan Hartman, Ernie Brooks) – 3:49
Produced by Harrison, Hartman and Brooks
2.”Kick Start” (Harrison, Alex Weir, Bernie Worrell, Ernie Brooks) – 3:51
Produced by Harrison, Weir, Worrell and Brooks
3.”I Don’t Mind” (Harrison, Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie, Ernie Brooks) – 3:29
Produced by Bailey, Harrison and Brooks
4.”Confess” (Harrison, Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie, Ernie Brooks) – 6:05
Produced by Bailey, Harrison and Brooks
5.”Sleep Angel” (Harrison, Ernie Brooks, Joyce Bowden) – 6:01
Produced by Harrison and Brooks
6.”I Cry for Iran” (Harrison, Alex Weir, Bernie Worrell, Ernie Brooks, Joyce Bowden) – 3:40
Produced by Harrison, Weir, Worrell and Brooks
7.”Never Let It Slip” (Harrison, Alex Weir, Bernie Worrell, John Sieger) – 4:52
Produced by Harrison, Weir, Worrell and Brooks
8.”Cowboy’s Got to Go” (Harrison, John Sieger, Ernie Brooks) – 3:18
No Producer credited
9.”If the Rains Return” (Harrison, Alex Weir, Bernie Worrell, Ernie Brooks) – 4:23
Produced by Harrison, Weir, Worrell and Brooks
10.”Remain Calm” (Harrison) – 2:40
Produced by Harrison
11.”Big Mouth” (Harrison, Alex Weir, Bernie Worrell, Tom Bailey) – 3:32
Produced by Harrison, Weir, Worrell and Brooks
12.”Facing the Fire” (Harrison, Alex Weir, Bernie Worrell, Ernie Brooks, Arthur Russell) – 4:35
Produced by Harrison, Weir, Worrell and Brooks
13.”The Doctors Lie” (Harrison, Ernie Brooks, Alex Weir, Arthur Russell) – 5:39
Produced by Harrison and Brooks

Personnel

  • Jerry Harrison – guitar, keyboards, vocals

with:

  • Tawatha Agee – background vocals
  • Tom Bailey – keyboards
  • Adrian Belew – guitar
  • Joyce Bowden – background vocals, vocal arrangements
  • Ernie Brooks – bass
  • Sherrell Harmon – background vocals
  • Dan Hartman – keyboards, background vocals
  • Rick Jaeger – drums
  • Jason Klagstad – guitar
  • Jim Liban – harmonica
  • Samuel Llanas – background vocals
  • Etienne Mboppe – bass
  • Abdou M’Boup – percussion
  • Arlene Newson – background vocals
  • Loveless Redmond – background vocals
  • Chris Spedding – guitar
  • Vaneese Thomas – background vocals
  • Brice Wassy – drums
  • Alex Weir – guitar
  • Arthur Weir – bass
  • Michael Webb – background vocals
  • Bernie Worrell – keyboards

Production

Producers: Jerry Harrison, Ernie Brooks, Dan Hartman, Alex Weir, Bernie Worrell, Tom Bailey.
Engineers: Jay Mark, Richard Manwaring, David Vartanian, Dan Hartman.
Mixing: Tom Lord-Alge, Bob Kraushaar, Dave Jerden, James Farber, Tom Bailey, Keith Fernley, Jay Mark, Jerry Harrison, David Henszey.
Mastering: Ted Jensen.

Notes
Released: 1990
Genre: Rock
Length: 55:54

Label – Sire Records (USA)

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