|In a Place Like This||Banana Boy||3:45|
|Fool Me Once||Banana Boy||3:25|
|I Love That Song||Banana Boy||4:20|
|Around the Corner||Banana Boy||4:08|
|Just Kiss Me||Banana Boy||4:24|
Here is more evidence that fado is one of the great urban sounds, and Amalia herself, at her best, one of the finest singers this century has produced. No frills here, just enchantment backed by the equally classic duo of guitars, Portuguese (Jaime Santos) and six-stringed (Domingos Camarinha or Santos Moreira). Three cuts are in Spanish. The rest are pure Lisbon saudade.
Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone define the spaghetti western style of film and music so squarely, the competition is barely considered. It was on the backs of films such as this 1967 smash, starring a pre-Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood, that their well-known reputation rests. The CD is more than you expect. Of course, Morricone has that unique style that he and older, less Italian-influenced Western film composers made synonymous with the action from St. Louis to the Rockies, and the deserts from there to the coast. There are the clip-clop beats similar to the trot of horses, the weary harmonica trill, and the peculiar whistling, that puckered sound of aloneness that still makes one think of solitary battles against the self as much as mounted foes. But Morricone also loves rustic, romantic orchestrations that use his whole orchestra. When a trumpet hits a solo on "Theme From Fistful of Dollars," backed by chilly strings and Spanish-strummed acoustic guitars, it's one of Byronic, beautiful, spacious solitude. Cymbals crash over a piano's bass keys, amidst rumbling trumpets and trombones, and the thump of timpani. Flutes and violins dart as much as thrust and parry, and background voices "Ahhh" in that everyman way, along with whip-cracks. It's all pretty prairie, rolling hills, grasslands and cattle, wagon wheels, and unshaven men with uncertain life spans. It's so mood-setting, you expect to see cactus or bison outside your door instead of an asphalt city. It's instrumental music that's a veritable co-star in a motion picture, not a pack of pre-recorded hit songs all wedged into a film like large square pegs into tiny round holes. This is authentic film scoring, and it is as alluring and inviting as Leone's movie itself. You can see it just to hear this.
Setlist captures 12 performances by country legend George Jones recorded live in Boston, Texas, Kentucky, and Tennessee between 1982 and 1987. All the performances are previously unreleased and include heartfelt versions of such hits as “Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” “She Thinks I Still Care,” “If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will),” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Recommended to both collectors and casual listeners of classic country.
After a self-released cassette that alluded to songwriter/producer Richard Rebarber's visionary musical talents, his Floating Opera project returned in late 1996 with this full-length album for -ismist Recordings. Not that much has changed for Rebarber in those years; he's still a craftsman focused on near orchestral pop/rock that is slightly challenging and always poetic. Yet here he enlists Lori Allison (Millions) and Heidi Ore (Mercy Rule) to handle the vocal duties, a choice that propels his songs into ethereal territory -- these are two exceptionally talented vocalists with an absolutely heavenly grasp of the material's literate lyrics. In addition to these stunning vocals, the somewhat subdued ensemble musicianship complements perfectly, serving as an inspired foundation for the two ladies to sing over. Not too accessible, even if it is genius songwriting, this album should impress anyone looking for sophisticated pop music with a near orchestral sense of instrumentation (for an example, look to the inventive cover of Hüsker Dü's "Makes No Sense at All").
If Rebarber was a New York or Los Angeles resident rather than a Nebraskan, there's a good chance you'd be much more familiar with his name than you are now. Furthermore, due to the infrequency of the Floating Opera releases, this album takes on a much greater value in retrospect.