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All reviews - Music (16)

In a League with Dylan, Cole Porter

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 13 May 2007 01:01 (A review of Billy Joel Greatest Hits: Vol. 1-2 (2CD))

I agree wholeheartedly with the Durchholz description that accompanies this listing. Billy Joel is a master of lyrics, harmony, arrangement, not to mention performance. But what sets him apart is the message he imparts in song, a message of a real authentic intelligent person of compassion, and someone who has not been defeated. This collection has all of his hits, minus maybe some toward the end of his run. As a piano player myself, his ability is impressive, and you may know that he has continued to compose music in a more complex classical style. As a person and a true New Yorker, he has avoided the crassness and craziness that comes with celebrity in the US. He disproves the saying "Only the good die young."

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Cole Porter - America's Greatest Songwri

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 13 May 2007 12:39 (A review of De-Lovely Cole Porter)

This CD soundtrack shares it's title with the film of Cole Porter's life, starring Kevin Kline, who also had a hand in bringing the story to film. If you don't like silly love songs, this is not for you. But if you listen close, Porter had a way of pushing the limits of decency in his time, and in a way that could slip past the censors. For example, "Just do it, just fall in love" has an obvious double meaning. Many great songs have been written by partners (Robers & Hart, Lerner & Lowe, the Gershwin brothers, etc.). Cole Porter did it all alone. This CD is packed with his best and performed by an impressive list of broadway and pop singers. This allows each tune to be given a very different and fresh interpretation. Sheryl Crow's version of "Love for Sale" earns her new respect. It is my favorite track, but each one is a gem.

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Electrifying Folk

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 28 April 2007 11:20 (A review of The Byrds' Greatest Hits)

The hippy movement pulled from a lot of sources, from beat, blues, rock, jazz. The Byrds were successful in taking songs from folk, especially Dylan's songs and putting them on the rock stage. And they had the hair and the outfits and they came just as things were exploding with innovation and grassroots activity. The Byrds helped keep the folk and protest tradition alive and in the minds of our generation, which was being lead in other directions by the likes of The Doors, Hendrix and even Dylan himself. Two of their members Roger McGuinn and David Crosby have continued to perform and participate in the pop scene, growing old like the rest.

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A shot at the heart

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 28 April 2007 11:06 (A review of American Pie)

Anyone around in the early 70's when this album came out will remember sitting around puzzling over the meaning of his lyrics, remeniscent of Dylan a few years earlier. PhD's have been written about his main hit "American Pie" and I advise you to look on the web for explanations of it's meaning. For me he was able to conjure up our disappointment and disillusion over the deaths of our heros and how we were left with people like Nixon or maybe the Rolling Stones, survivors, not dreamers or leaders. Billy Joel also attempted a similar and more hopeful tribute in "We Didn't Light the Fire." But my favorite track is "Vincent", because I know and love Van Gogh's art, but also because the story of his gift and death resonates with one of the sad truths about life, that beauty and truth are mostly ignored or outshouted.

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From Blue Grass to Jazz

Posted : 11 years, 2 months ago on 28 April 2007 10:48 (A review of The Best of New Grass Revival)

I bought this CD because of Bela Fleck, who is their banjo player. In case you're not a bluegrass fan, improvization has been a feature of bluegrass and many of it's members have ventured into broader musical styles. Bela and his Flecktones is a good example and the New Grass Revival was a precursor of this trend. This CD appeals more to those with folk and country interests than us jazz freaks, Their themes echo the traditional country values of committed love, religion, etc.

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Supernatural it is

Posted : 11 years, 6 months ago on 7 January 2007 06:01 (A review of Supernatural)

This CD demonstrates Santana's leadership and mentorship in the world of music. He's the Dali Lama of world music. He also has a real-world foundation to help children. To see him in action is enlightening, especially if you have watched a lot of bands.

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