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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jackopierce “Feel This Good”

Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce came together to form a musical ensemble back in 1988. Together, they formed a duo called Jackopierce. That concept gave the toe musicians a decade-long music career that featured the release of six albums before they celebrated a decade with the release of the album entitled Decade. After celebrating ten years together, the duo went their separate ways…supposedly over the need to play the song “Three of Us In a Boat,” the song that ended up being their musical signature. After an extended break, O’Neill and Pierce would reconvene the duo and would once again start recording, adding an additional five albums to the Jackopierce discography.

The last album of Everywhere I Go from Jackopierce was released back in 2012. But now the duo of Jack O’Neill and Cary Pierce has once again come back together. This time, they have a new album to promote. The latest album from the band is 2018’s Feel This Good.   

Feel This Good from Jackopierce begins with the album’s title track. “Feel This Good” begins with the sound of lightly clicking percussion that transitions into an easy going Acoustic Rock track. The song has a light, gentle feel as the music on the track contains a Pop-Rock feel. The addition of the banjo on the track adds texture to the music.  When the mandolin starts, the track is equal parts Pop-Rock and Folk.

When the second track of the album called “Without You” begins, the song instantly takes on the feel of the songs that were featured on the Everywhere I Go release. “Without You” contains so much of the same vibe as anything from that album that it’s as if O’Neill and Pierce had one more song left in them from the creation of the previous album and didn’t have any place to put it so they included it on Feel This Good.

The band changes its direction on the track “So Good”. The track has a slight Country feel to the music as it seems as if it would fit right in with any of the songs currently being played on any Country radio format. However, the song also contains a musical approach that also brings to mind the music of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. The main reason for the Petty influence comes from the guitar playing on the track that contains the same type of twang that was always present in Petty’s music. The musical blend invites two different types of music lover to enjoy this track.

Jackopierce slows things down with the next track that is ironically called “Speed”. Like the previous track of “So Good,” the music on this track contains an easy feel and an almost Folk-like approach. The track’s lyrics deal with a relationship that apparently may be coming to an end.  The easy feel to the music brings to mind the Soft Rock music of the late seventies/early eighties. In fact, you can hear a little bit of influence from the band America in both the music and the lyrical content in the track. While there is a definite flavor to the song that will remind listeners of something from the seventies, you can still imagine “Speed” being played on any of today’s Adult Contemporary radio formats.

For the first few bars of the track “Miracle,” you can imagine the band Jackopierce having the same type of musical approach as the band Vertical Horizon. In fact, as you listen to the guitar on the beginning of “Miracle,” the song’s first few bars brings to mind “I’m Still Here” From VH. After the first few seconds, however, the song takes on a much different feel as the song’s approach takes on more of a Christian Rock approach. That musical approach is helped along with the inclusion of strings that give the song added beauty. The Christian feel not only comes from the musical aspect of the track but also from the lyrical content. While not overly religious, the track of “Miracle” could easily find its way onto Top 40 radio as well as the most obvious of Christian Rock formats, The Fish. The Crossover effect on the song almost guarantees that the song could get plays on many radio stations if given the chance.

With the track “Still House Hollow,” the feel of the band changes drastically. The track contains a straight-out Rock and Roll feel that brings to mind something from the eighties or early nineties. This track stands out because it has a different feel than anything else that appears on the latest release from Jackopierce.  In fact, the closest thing that the track reminds me of is something from the Scottish band Big Country or maybe even the Irish band Energy Orchard. While the track feels slightly unusual when compared to the rest of the album, “Still House Hollow” still has enough commercial appeal that it would still feel right at home on Top 40 Radio.

The band Jackopierce had once been signed to major label A&M back in the nineties. But the band’s more recent material has plenty of modern appeal to it. Songs like “Miracle” and the title track of “Feel This Good” would fit right in with today’s Top 40 music. And while the band’s previous album of Everywhere I Go had been released over six years ago, the time between albums seems to have been well worth it as Feel This Good is a very good release that is just as solid as the band’s last album.

(For more information, click HERE to check out the review for the last album of Everywhere I Go from Jackopierce.) 

Click HERE to check out the Feel This Good album from Jackopierce on Spotify. 

To check out some of the music from Jackopierce, lick HERE for the title track of “Feel This Good”. 

 

To purchase a copy of Feel This Good album from Jackopierce, click on the album cover below:

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Featured Review

PIGSHIT: TEN YOU MAY HAVE MISSED In 2018

Lindsey Buckingham got kicked out of Fleetwood Mac (again), The Monkees made their first-ever Christmas album (!), and I am still waiting for that big Turtles Battle of the Bands Commemorative Special Anniversary Collectors Edition. In the meantime though, I remained happily singing along beneath headphones to (in strictly Alphabetical order)…  


EDGAR BREAU
Edgar Breau
(Flying Inn Recordings)

Understandably kept quite busy piloting Simply Saucer since his Patches Of Blue in 2012, this marvelous return to root launches from the man’s consistently astonishing acoustichords into realms only hinted at on previous releases. Meticulously, beautifully recorded by Jordan Mitchell and Adam Bentley at their TAPE Studio, the often haunting aural landscapes – evident often during each track’s decaying moments, so as to ensure the listener’s listening – support and perfectly compliment the album’s deceptively tranquil lyrics. And Edgar’s eye, not just ear for detail has rarely been as keen (“Days Of Golden Sunlight”) nor as sharp (“Mount Idaho”); even when cast with W. B. Yeats (“He Wishes His Beloved Were Dead”)!  Kim Deschamps’ pedal steel adds ideal touches, to the N.ville North of “Martha’s Back” for instance, and Colina Phillips’ vocal harmonies are of course, and I quote, knockout. Not since my most recent digital encounter with Johnny Dowd have I spent such a fulfilling three-quarters of an hour with the lights out, and the campfire slowly fading.       

 

“D.O.A.: A RIGHT OF PASSAGE”
(MVD Rewind)

Celebrating, if that’s the correct word, the 40th (!) anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ ill-fated inaugural tour of the U.S. – and subsequent implosion – this more-than-bountiful Blu-ray + DVD edition contains still-incendiary mosh-eye footage of John Paul Steve ‘n’ Sid wow’ing (all the while confusing, baiting, and too often inflaming) the unsuspecting denizens of Atlanta, San Antonio and Dallas et al, then heads to the very heart of the matter – the decaying rot of James “No Future” Callaghan’s once Great Britain – to watch Generation X record “Kiss Me Deadly,” ex-Pistol Glen Matlock’s Rich Kids attempt a pretty lame “Pretty Vacant,” and X-Ray Spex, the Dave Clark Five of the New Wave, belting out their cheeky “Oh Bondage Up Yours.” The bonus Punk Documentary That Almost Never Was featurette (actually, it’s longer than the main attraction!) is absolutely Required Viewing as well, if only to discover the hidden connection between p-u-n-k and High Times Magazine, followed by – wait for it! – vintage footage of Barbara Walters interviewing Malcolm McLaren.  

 

FLAMIN’ GROOVIES
Fantastic Plastic
(Sonic Kicks/Severn Records)

Technically a 2017 release, which didn’t arrive at the sty til early oh-18… but it’s still not a minute too late to miss! Jumpin’ just like the Groovies we all know and will always love, right off the bat “What The Hell’s Goin’ On” shakes solid not-so-slow death, maximum mid-range on each and every guitar with the rhythm a compressed Wall of Deep Sound. Even when riding NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad,” or their ol’ Bay Area Beau Brummel pals’ “Don’t Talk To Strangers,” the impressively intact C. Wilson/C. Jordan vocals most notably retain a sense of substance and style which has punctuated this band for (how can it possibly be?!!) fifty-plus years and counting. Sure, while the retro MAD Jack Davis/Beatles ’65 packaging may well point direct towards the Larry Williams bass beneath “Crazy Macy,” the “Street Fighting Man” licking “Let Me Rock,” and the wonderfully Flamin’ Springfield “She Loves Me” – to say nothing of the big beat ballads “Lonely Hearts” and “I’d Rather Spend My Time With You,” Fantastic Plastic bends, not buckles with the undeniable durability and strength of the Flamin’ Groovies …NOW.

 

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE
Electric Ladyland
(Legacy Recordings)

As the boomers – or at least their hearing – slowly but surely all f-f-fade away, what remains of the recorded music industry scramble to squeeze the last remaining blood off the tracks of warehoused catalog items prior to shuffling them permanently out to audio pasture. Hence the ongoing onslaught of Deluxe Remastered Super 50th Anniversary Numbered Limited Special Signed Commemorative Collectors Editions of each and everything from that White Album to Big Green Village Pink on down. But! One such big bonus Yule box deserves a fate much better than play-once-stick-up-on-some-shelf; in fact, its contents have aged not one note since first appearing upon countless turntables a half-century ago. Produced and directed in true cinematic fashion by Jimi alongside studio savant Eddie Kramer, a 2018/19 visit to Ladyland is every bit as mind-boggling and, yes, ear-shattering as it was circa ’68. And its Electric extras, including demos, out-takes, grungerful Hollywood Bowl concert plus expanded Making of Electric Ladyland Blu-ray only serve to enhance and enlighten this bona fide classic. Why, even its original Jimi-approved (but never used) front cover has been reinstated: another example of how this is one 50th Anniversary done entirely right.

JOHN & YOKO
Imagine / Gimme Some Truth
(Eagle Rock Entertainment)

And! Not to be one-upped by that above-mentioned White anniversary, the Lennon quarter of our forever Fab equation is more than fairly represented by these 152 (!) minutes of gorgeously upgraded sight and sound, centered on and around the recording of his most popular-ever long-player. The original 1972 Imagine film – the world’s first “video album” as it turns out – is still a joy to behold, guest-starring Dick Cavett, Jack Palance, George Harrison and, ever the debonair perfectionist, Fred Astaire …though it’s still not entirely clear who that man and/or woman wandering around London in a black bag is. 1999’s Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ Album is just that; to watch things getting, um, testy as Phil Spector tries voicing his high “Oh Yoko!” harmony in the Lennons’ right-by-the-kitchen Ascot Sound Studio is, as Yoko says, “home cookin’.” Self-indulgent, ultra-big-budget glorified home movies, you say? Well, I say Where else are you going to be able to watch Miles Davis shooting hoops with John Lennon as Andy Warhol skulks in the shadows with Jack Nicholson, shooting off Polaroids?!

 

CHRIS RICHARDS AND THE SUBTRACTIONS
Peaks and Valleys
(Futureman Records)

Barely a minute into this disc and we’re already thoroughly, willingly submerged by every single Vox-happy, ooooh-ahh’ing, tom-tom’d beat; long a specialty of Chris’, but the first we’ve heard from this incarnation of his since 2012’s Get Yer La La’s Out. And now with Andy Reed – yes, he of Bay City’s Reed Recording facility – on board, the musical team is complete, and completely compatible. Andy’s keyboards, be they a Wing-y Moog on the “Weekend,” dash of Mellotron (“The Coast Is Clear”) or strings “Wrapped In A Riddle” color but never overwhelm he and Chris’ angular axes and luscious vocals. Yes, those vocals! Meanwhile, “Maybe That’s All” is the BEST track Cheap Trick hasn’t cut …yet, and “Call Me Out” stars guitar lines worthy of, dare I compare, ex-Mac Lindsey. But it’s throughout the four infallible minutes of “In A Sense” all of these Subtractions’, er, pluses ring finest as Larry Grodsky’s drums pitch against, then wash amongst the 6-strings, Todd Holmes’ lock-step bass, and (speaking of Bay City again) wholly Roller-worthy backing choral. Bonus Points are due too towards Chilton/Bell’s “Thirteen”: it takes a big band to tackle Big Star, but it’s just one of many many peaks Chris has hit herein. As he regularly does.     

SEX CLARK FIVE
Mrs. Von Braun You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter
(Records to Russia)

Four songs, Seven inches, Nine minutes: my still favorite strum ‘n’ drummers from Alabama offer vinyl obsessives ample reason to heave their latest too-big-stickered Record Store Day hauls off the turntable, making way for something altogether groove-ier. Track-by-lovely-track then, the final 30 seconds of “Saint Barbara” would not have sounded a tad out of place inside a Saucerful of Secrets or even The Who Sell Out, why “Quasar” wasn’t chosen as The Big Bang Theory theme I’ll never know, cue up “Painting” if you ever wondered what Del Shannon (!) produced by Joe Meek (!!) would’ve sounded like, and “Paper Rock Saber” takes a mere three-minutes-five to flawlessly encapsulate those first four Doors albums …with Sexier lyrics and vocals, it should go without singing. Which reminds me: Their grand new Live! album (SC5 in NYC for CMJ on 11/1/91) should be grabbed ASAP as well. “A typically out of control show,” in their own wide words.

 

LANE STEINBERG
Lane Steinberg & His Magical Pony
(Lane Steinberg)

Leave it to Lane to again provide me with just about the fun-nest, most rewarding forty minutes I’ve spent (after taxes) all year. This time ’round and ’round however, the man is joined by a stellar assortment of fellow DIY-at-home writers and players: R. Stevie Moore, Irwin Chusid, the remarkable David Grahame and, for a splendidly understated little trio of Broadway-bound trinkets, the piano of Tot Taylor. One screen over, “You’re Not Connected To The Internet” sports a decidedly dial-up sound, “Everyone Thinks I’m Happy Now” rests upon one phenomenal cat indeed, “Crazy As A Shithouse Rat” must certainly be The Title – perhaps even Zeitgeist? – of The Age, and “Another Early Autumn” with perhaps even “Portofino” makes one won-won-wonder why Lane isn’t writing (for starters) Brian Wilson’s next couple of albums. After all is said and sung, I will conclude by saying “Magical” only begins to describe the ever-melodious goings-on in and around this astounding collection …and, come to think of it, this one too.

 

TODD AND JINGYU
Find Me Find You: A Story
(Todd Lerner Music)

Delicate yet disarming, always enchanting yet occasionally striking; purely adjectively speaking this seemingly merry skip down a romantic trail belies the over ten years it took to write and record. For not a solitary word or chord is ever overwrought or self-consciously labored. The piano-focused à la Left Banke Michael Brown/Odessey and Oracle Rod Argent arrangements – which, most cleverly, build and bloom as the album progresses – remain sparse, while often nuanced (the vocals especially). Speaking of which, Jingyu and Todd’s voices mix, match, then will overlap and counterpoint …the better to subtly conjure the musical dialog their dance relates. Then, as in “Everything Is Good,” a simple whistling “da-da-da” can, and does, suffice. Then, a minute later, “Where It Goes” demonstrates a remarkably complex, though again seamlessly tossed-off mastery of time and tempo. Find Me Find You is truly unlike anything I have heard this year; I now hope you hear it soon yourself. P.S.: and, as the couple themselves suggest when cueing up the tracks, “if one listens in order they tell a fully-integrated story on finding romantic love.”    

 

“WHITE LACE AND PROMISES: THE SONGS OF PAUL WILLIAMS”
(Curry Cuts)

For those who may have in 2018 – or, for that matter, 2019 – question the very concept of the “tribute album” (not to mention the compact disc itself), I would suggest even a cursory listen to any of the twenty-three tracks on this downright delight-filled, yes, tribute to iconic songwriter / singer / actor / supreme 70s talkshow guest Paul Williams. Everything about this endeavor, right down to Craig Dorfman’s rock and roll reporting introductory notes reflect much, much love within its labors. As its subject unquestionably deserves. From the Davenports’ “Evergreen” clear through Brandon Schott’s “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday” the material, as challenging as it may be stands not only the test of four decades’ time, but also the approaches, often whimsical yet always respectful, each participant offers. And while several bravely recast, as in “update” I suppose one could say (Cait Brennan’s “Old Fashioned Love Song” and even more so XNYMFO’s “Dangerous Business”) the existing templates, wisely none ever stroll too far from the indelible, impactful originals. Even Sitcom Neighbor, as they take my All Time Fave PW tune “Out In The Country” straight back to America …as in Gerry, Dewey etc. that is. Paul Williams is most deserving of such a talent-heavy nod, of that there can be no doubt. Thankfully, Andrew and all at Curry Cuts have now produced it.         

 

by Gary Pig Gold

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Spade Mcquade “An Ocean Between Us”

It was nearly thirty years ago that Irish rock band Energy Orchard released their self-titled album. Energy Orchard may never have had a very large following here in the United States, but they did end up releasing their self-titled album on MCA. That band and their self-titled album featured a sound that blended a style reminiscent of U2 with a stronger Irish vibe than the more well-known band ever had. And from that album, the band released one of their strongest singles, a song called “Sailor Town“. That resulting style was featured in several albums before the band would go their separate ways. And for the band’s rhythm guitarist, Spade Mcquade, that meant making his way over to the United States.  

Spade Mcquade now makes his home in the United States. And because of that, his musical style has taken on a definite American flare to it. So much so, that Mcquade refers to his style as Irish Americana. And it is that style that can be found on his latest release entitled An Ocean Between Us

An Ocean Between Us from Spade Mcquade finds the singer-songwriter creating an album in a Live In The Studio setting. What ends up being created is an album that sounds as if the tracks have the same warmth that they would have if the listener was experiencing the tracks in a concert setting.

Spade Mcquade’s An Ocean Between Us album begins with the track “Humble”. The track takes some influence from the early days of Hootie and the Blowfish and combines it with elements of Deep Blue Something’s song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. What results is a track that feels as if it would have been right at home on the radio back in the early to mid-nineties. The track finds Mcquade declaring that he has always been and will always be the same person.

It is on the track “London Again” that the listener gets to understand just what is meant by the term Irish Americana.  The track features a strong Country/Rock blend to the base of the music. But it also includes a little Celtic influence from the inclusion of the tin whistle on the track. What results is a sound that is rather reminiscent of the type of music that the band The Pogues would have created, minus the Punk influence to track.

With the next track, Irish musician Spade Mcquade takes the listener back in time a bit on the song “Stupid”. The musical direction on the track finds Mcquade creating a track that seems to contain a strong Folk vibe. But the feel to the music of the song is not just any Folk vibe. The song contains a vibe that was very much present in American music during the sixties. As a matter-of-fact, what comes across is a song that was largely influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan back at the time period of the sixties.

One of the strongest tracks on the An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade is the song “Human After All”. The track features a sound that feels like a combination between a Michael Nesmith & the First National Band song and a more Countrified song from The Eagles. The combination that is produced creates a track that feels as if it would have been right at home on AM radio back during the seventies. In fact, the song would have been right at home on the Top 40 charts back then.

It is with the next track on the release that the listener gets to experience a bit of Spade Mcquade’s humor. It is with the song “Gaybar” that Mcquade adds a few chuckles to the album, although the track is more light-hearted than humorous. The track finds Spade and some friends leaving a bar as they were looking for something fun. When other places failed to live up to their expectations, they tried a gay bar and found some fun. The track proves that keeping an open mind is very important or else you might miss out on something you might regret later. As far as the music to the track is concerned, Mcquade creates a track that, like with the song “London Again” from earlier on in the release, features a style rather reminiscent of The Pogues. The fun, bouncy feel of the music adds to the overall lightheartedness of the track.

As Spade Mcquade is living in the United States having been born over in Ireland, it should come as no surprise that he would write a song about that very topic. The song called “Bangor Town” finds Mcquade feeling nostalgic as he sings about thinking back to his time back in Ireland and how, no matter where you may go in your life, your hometown will always be where you come from. To go along with the gentle feeling of reminiscing that is found in the lyrics, the music of the track also contains a gentleness that lends itself to the feeling of reminiscing about the past. Together, the music and the lyrics on the release combine to create a moment that most of us can relate to in some way.  

The final track of the An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade is more of a story than anything else. The song “Just a Cat” contains a light, easy pace to the music as the song features a Folk approach to both the music and lyrical content. “Just a Cat” is the tale of a man who is relaxing in his backyard when a strange cat makes its way over to him. However, there is something different about the animal: He is the reincarnated soul of a friend who is now pondering what to do. The track is a cautionary tale of what might happen if you don’t treat people (or in this case, animals) the way you would to be treated.

While many of the track that are contained in Spade Mcquade’s new album have a Rock and Roll base to them,  An Ocean Between Us album is a release that features different styles of music to nearly every song. The Americana (or Irish Americana, as Spade himself describes it) music contained within the release creates moments on the album that are unique from one track to the next. This ensures that the album is rather varied throughout the ten or so tracks that make up the album.  

To discover the music of Spade Mcquade, check out the song “Pucker Up“. 

You can find An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade on Spotify HERE

To check out the An Ocean Between Us album from Spade Mcquade, click on the album cover below: