C, Vitamin C (Elektra 1999) - Colleen Fitzpatrick, who records
under the name of Vitamin C, makes her solo debut with Vitamin C. Mixing solid songwriting and
smooth pop sensibilities, Vitamin C is a refreshing find.
Fitzpatrick hails from Old Bridge, and started as a dancer. Fitzpatrick later joined the band Eve's
Plum, which recorded two albums.
Fitzpatrick admits that, "Madonna
has definitely been an inspiration to me. She always has been able to make good pop records - but with an intensity
and intelligence that also hinted there was much more going on."
That extra "going on" is apparent on Vitamin C,
which was produced by Josh Deutch and Garry Hughes. Colleen wrote the bulk of
the songs, although the album also includes a track written by Neal
Finn ("I Got You") and "Fear of Flying," which draws from The
Clash's "Magnificent Seven."
C is far more than just girl pop, though songs like "Girls Against Boys" and "Turn
Me On" have a fresh pop feel. There's more of an edge to songs like "Unhappy Anniversary," yet the
concluding "Graduation" has sugary high school graduation song written all over it. And listen for "Me,
Myself and I," which draws in a catchy riff from Santana.
Vitamin C has a bright pop future. Look for
Asleep At The Wheel, Ride With Bob (Dreamworks
1999) - Keepers of the flame Asleep At The Wheel return with Ride With Bob, subtitled "A
Tribute to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys." With 17 tracks true to Wills' brand of Western Swing, the new
album provides solid musicianship, yet retains a light feel.
With 21 albums to their credit, Asleep At The Wheel has been performing
for more than 25 years. Explains leader Ray Benson,
"A funny thing happened on the way to the Millennium. The recent past became the present and the roots of
Western Swing took a mighty hold. By the 90s it became clear that this hybrid of Western music and swing had not
only survived but was a part of the fabric of modern country music."
"Instead of listening to beeps and electronic sounds that the futurists predicted, some of us actually prefer
the sound of real instruments played by talented and inspired musicians and the blend of human voices to the synthesized
homogenized mire that is contemporary music to some."
Ray's got a point: real instruments, not just their synthesized counterparts, remain the heart of music-making.
The core band in Asleep At The Wheel consists of Texas fiddler
Jason Roberts, steel guitarist and dobro player Cindy
Cashdollar, drummer David Sanger, pianist Chris Booher, bass player
David Miller, and Michael Francis on horns.
With Bob includes such Wills' favorites as "Roly
Poly," "You're From Texas," and "Take Me Back to Tulsa." In addition, Benson rounded
up a host of guest players and vocalists, including Dwight
Yoakam ("New San Antonio Rose"), Lee
Ann Womack ("Heart to Heart Talk"), and Reba
McEntire ("Right or Wrong").
The musicianship and integrity come through on Ride With Bob. All the players, including the guest
artists, have an affinity for this music. Give a listen to Asleep
At The Wheel.
McCartney, Run Devil Run (Capitol 1999) - Though felled
by the loss of his beloved Linda earlier this year, Paul
McCartney got right back in the studio to record Run Devil Run. Recorded in just a week in March
1999, the new album finds McCartney going back to his 50s roots, with rockabilly and skiffle all over the place.
Says Sir Paul, "I'm glad that I've got back to
my roots and it will reassure anyone who thinks 'Oh, he's gone all classical now,' that that is not the case. I
still love by rock-n-roll."
Run Devil Run finds Paul on vocals and bass,
with David Gilmour (from Pink Floyd)
on electric guitar, Mick Green (who played in Johnny Kidd & The Pirates)
on electric guitar, and Ian Paice (from Deep Purple)
on drums. Also providing keyboards are the talented Pete Wingfield and Geraint
The album includes three new songs by Sir Paul, together with
a collection of 50s tracks such as "Honey Hush" by Big
Joe Turner, "Coquette" (an obscure Fats Domino B-side), and "Lonesome
Town" (which was a hit in 1958 for Ricky Nelson).
discussing the song selection, Paul says, "I got together about 25 songs that I just remembered; we hadn't
done them with the Beatles,
but I just liked them. My fondness for the tracks was the important thing about picking them."
Explains Paul, "Although the majority of the songs on the album
are retro songs, they are not retro sounds. Chris Thomas, the producer, and I decided it would
be good on this album if the retro songs could be recorded so that they could live alongside the modern stuff that
is played on the radio. So we talked to Geoff Emerick, our engineer, and went for this more modern
sound to the older songs."
Run has an authentic sound, as Paul remains true to his roots. Yet there's no real spark to the album.
While the recording is faithful to the rebel yells of Chuck
Berry, Gene Vincent, Carl
Perkins and early Elvis Presley, there's no catchy splash.
I have only good things to say about Sir Paul; but Run Devil Run is an album for long-time fans.
- Randy Krbechek © 1999
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