Last update to these pages 8-16-1999

I was asked to contribute an article to a new newsletter at work and I asked if I could contribute a music review article. I spend a tremendous amount of time commuting every week and this is where I begin the process of evaluating music on CD and tape [mostly CD these days]. With the pace things are on and the amount of free time I have, most of my realistic level listening is restricted to the car system. Since this is where I really get to listen for a whole CD at a time, I decided to call this article,
"What's in my CD changer?"

Reggae Cowboys "Tell the Truth" Pure Records Company 003 642 380-2

This new Canadian group performs in a unique style offering their listeners wild-west theme reggae tunes. At first this concept might seem hard to swallow. A few moments into the disc will convince you that these Canadians are very proficient and deliver what they promise. Aside from the western theme, you might easily compare this bands reggae ability to Toots Mayall or Bob Marley. Combining the best reggae chops with the best guitar fills, they command your attention as you easily swallow a western story in the lyrics. As an example, the title track tells the story of the black cowboy who is written out of the history books. Supported by a solid bass line, contrapuntal guitar, and reggae syncopated drums, you find yourself tapping your foot and marveling at the reggae vocals and the solo guitar work. This is also a great demo disc providing solid imaging, deep full bass, and excellent delineation of the instruments and voices.

Marc Cohn "The Rainy Season" Atlantic 7 82491-2

One night while surfing through DSS offerings, I came across the Country Music TV channel where a video was just starting. It caught my eye because it combined a film image with a computer generated painted environment. The artist was Marc Cohn who was unknown to me at the time. The video was created to illustrate the song, "Walk Through The World". This track is sort of a Bruce Hornsby sounding affair with a lot of appeal. A few days later, I had stopped into the home of the Blue Shirts on a shopping mission and dropped into the CD area to see if they had the disc. I found it and slipped it into my changer [along with three other discs - you know I can't help myself]. As I got to listen to the rest of the disc, I realized that the video song was the song with the most commercial potential and the rest of the CD had even more appeal. I highly recommend this disc for your listening arsenal. Almost every song has a somewhat unique style and instrumental approach. The title track, "The Rainy Season", has solid bass with a good percussive punch and lots of instrumental support that you can ask your customer to listen for and then confirm the results. "Mama's In The Moon" is a partially acoustic backed song that has percussive instruments that seem to hang out in space. Track 9, "Baby King", starts with a cappella voices advising you to "Get Ready For A Baby King" followed by keyboard and percussion. This attention grabbing and dynamic song will capture your full attention! Give Marc a listen, you won't be disappointed!

Luther Grosvenor "Floodgates"
The Brilliant Recording Company Ruf Records RBCD 1007-2

Remember "Mott the Hoople"? Ok, maybe you are a bit younger than I am and you are thinking "Mott the what?" but here is a new CD from a veteran of the rock and roll music industry. The last music I heard from him was over 20 years ago. The new Floodgates CD offers some great songs from this artist. The title song "Floodgates" has crystalline amplified acoustic guitar with keyboards and Luther's expressive voice. It could easily be used for a great rock demonstration. Track 6, "Ninsky Project", has a jazzy feel with a solid bass line and an awesome Hammond Organ sound. It builds and layers more and more instruments as Luther tells the story. This is a great car stereo demo that has deep rich bass that tests the range of the bass with walking bass guitar. It is nice to see the return of this veteran performer!

Uptown Mandolin Quartet "Bach Ravel Telemann"
Uptown Mandolin Quartet UMQ0895CD

This recording is possible as the result of the hard work of an employee at Martin Logan. Their shop foreman, Jeff Dearinger, is renown for his excellent work creating transcriptions of classical orchestral music for mandolin orchestras and quartets. I saw him at the factory and wondered where I had seen his face before [he looked very familiar]. I had recently surfed the Internet in search of mandolin information especially sheet music or chord sheets [I know, don't I have anything better to do?]. My Washburn "Jethro Burns" mandolin was just begging for a playing and I was looking to expand my horizons when I surfed to the Mandolin Café. The Café is dedicated to works on mandolin and the transcriptions of Jeff are featured there. On one of the many pages attached to the site was a page dedicated to the Uptown Mandolin Quartet. As I spoke to him at the factory I realized that he might be the very artist I had read about. I asked and he revealed very modestly that he was one in the same. When he is not directing the production of Martin Logan speakers, he is hard at work transcribing for and playing in mandolin groups. The Uptown Mandolin Quartet includes his wife Beth and Mike Stewart [another Martin Logan employee] as well as another talented man

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