Monday, February 13, 2012

Paul McCartney | Kisses On The Bottom

Mary McCartney took the photograph on the cover of McCartney's new album, "Kisses On The Bottom", capturing her dad leaning forward and around a gigantic bouquet of flowers. Typically, McCartney is in motion, kind of clowning and looking almost as young as he did in the album back cover photo of his first solo record. Mary's mother and Paul's first wife, the late Linda McCartney took that early photo. Remember the baby peeking out from underneath Paul's leather jacket? That's Mary. How's that for full circle?

Unlike that 1970 release on which Paul played most of the instruments, he doesn't lift a finger on this one, he just wraps his warm and mellow vocal tones (using Nat King Cole's microphone on the Capitol Studios sessions) around 12 popular standards and 2 new original songs. However, it is a back-to-basics record like "McCartney" was, but there is no trying to move on from The Beatles, back to a simpler time and approach. Now it's a move deeper into his golden years, working simply and honestly with what's left.

Many of the songs like "Bye Bye Blackbird", on which he sings the seldom heard, opening verse, were ones that he and his family did in "sing-songs". Others are from the same era-the 30's and 40's mostly. Music industry veteran Tommy LiPuma produced and assembled an A-list of players, including Diana Krall on piano, Bucky and John Pizzarelli and Eric Clapton on guitar, and The London Symphony Orchestra.

There is a sweet peacefulness, a hushed quality to the playing, with Paul's voice riding gently on top. His vocal approach is casual, faithful to the crooner tradition. On a few of the songs, his voice is light at the top of his register; on a couple of others, it sounds forced stylistically. But this is just quibbling. Paul McCartney lives up to his legendary status, working in the midst of some of the best players around, brave, vulnerable and after all these years still generously offering his musical talents.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dr. Dog | Be The Void

"That's right! You start with 7 guys in a room staring at one another, and then 5 months later you've got a record." So says Dr. Dog and today is the day that fans of Philadelphia based band can pick up "Be The Void".

Ten years of making music together has produced one of best indie bands working today. Loose in vibe and feeling, tight and intricate in arrangements, Beatlesque, Kinksesque, Bowiesque. Have you thought about Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" recently? Could this be part of the inspiration for "Warrior Man"? Song I love--"Get Away."