Do You Know the Way to San Jose? (01/15/99)
Burt Bacharach, One Amazing Night (N2K Encoded Music 1998) - Burt Bacharach has defined "cool" during his 30-plus-year career. One Amazing Night was recorded in New York City in April 1998 for television broadcast. The dozen artists perform live versions of some of Bacharach's best tunes, including All Saints with a charming version of "Always Something There," Chrissie Hynde's sexy take on "A Message to Michael," and Wynonna with "Anyone Who Had a Heart."
Also appearing are Sheryl Crow, Ben Folds Five, and Barenaked Ladies (who prove that it's impossible to top Karen Carpenter's version of "They Long to be Close to You").
The highlight of the album is Dionne Warwick's medley of "Walk on By/Say a Little Prayer/Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" Warwick remains a gifted interpreter of Bacharach's songs, and adds a graceful touch to the album.
Far more than a trip down memory lane, One Amazing Night contains solid tracks from the Bacharach song book. Enjoy this album.
Robert Schimmel, If You Buy This CD, I Can Get This Car (Warner 1998) - If You Buy This CD is the second release from outrageous comedian Robert Schimmel. No stranger to controversy (listen up when Schimmel explains why his booking agency fired him), the new album delivers laughs in big gulps.
Schimmel has worked in comedy for years, and spent his early days writing for such established stars as Jimmy Walker, Gabe Kaplan, and Joan Rivers.
With his candid observations about sex and the human condition, Schimmel opens up a can of personal insecurities on tracks like "Sperm Bank," "Porno Awards/Hollywood Bullshit," and "Sex and Your Heart Attack!" It's hard to capture the punch lines in a review: just know that Schimmel approaches taboo topics with a sledgehammer.
In the words of Chris Rock, "Robert Schimmel is the funniest black man in America." For a serving of his adult-based humor, try If You Buy This CD, I Can Get This Car.
Corky Siegel, Chamber Blues: Complimentary Colors (Gadfly Records 1998) - Chamber Blues represents a fusion of harmonica-based blues and classical music. While the combination seems odd, Corky has it right when he says, "When seen from a purely musical perspective, blues and classical are nothing more than complimentary colors."
Corky Siegel has been making records since the late 60s, coming out of the Chicago blues tradition. Recorded with friends Frank Donaldson (tabla and percussion), and the West End String Quartet (featuring Guillaume Combet on violin, Rebecca McFaul on violin, Richard Halajian on viola, and Jill Kaeding on cello), the album is a unusual amalgamation of classical strings and Corky's blues harmonica playing.
Thus, songs like "El Nino: Opus 18" and "Goodbye California" find Corky mixing melodies, harmonies, and counterpoint as he updates the classical string quartet canon.
An unusual and distinctive release, Complimentary Colors will test your perception of the boundaries between classical and blues.
Don Williams, I Turn the Page (Giant Nashville 1998) - Country legend Don Williams returns to the studio for I Turn the Page. With his talent for selecting good material, and his warm, rich voice, Williams is like an old friend.
Born in 1939, Williams is known for such hits as "I Believe in You," "Amanda," and "Tulsa Time." Williams' personal life is as steady as his stage persona - he has been married to the same woman (Joy) since 1960.
Williams' road band is also a familiar crew, including Brian Barnett on drums, Anthony Clausi on harmonica and guitars, Charles Cochran on keyboards, Joe Compito on bass, and Billy Sanford on guitar and mandolin.
Williams' easygoing persona and comfortable voice fill the disk on songs like "Something 'Bout You" (written by Kevin Welch of the Dead Reckoning band) and "Pancho" and "How Did You Do It" (both written by Dave Hanner, known for his hit "Lord, I Hope This Day is Good").
Like a comfortable shoe, Don Williams won't let you down. Nashville fans will enjoy I Turn the Page.
- Randy Krbechek © 1999
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