Sunday, June 25, 2006

Stephen Bruton / From The Five

I discovered this gentleman via the Publik Music website. I played the tune they had on there for my listening pleasure, said I gotta have that one and promptly ordered it. Well, after living with it for the last 6 weeks I don't regret my rash decision. Sometimes it's best to go with your gut instinct. This is a great set of tunes. Ole Stephen knows how to write a catchy lyric and what he may lack in vocal skills he more than makes up for in guitar work. The few negatives on this disc, in my opinion, are far outweighed by the stellar musicianship and the great lyrics on every song. What are the negatives you ask? well, he ain't the worlds best singer and there's a couple spots where I cringe when he gets off key, but lets not be picky here, some of the best vocalists I know can't "sing".......Joe Walsh and Danny Okeefe come to mind as far as not being your garden variety traditional style singers, but I'd rather listen to them than 99.9% of the crap that passes on the radio for singing these days.

The backup band for Mr Bruton is stellar too....he has Tom Petty's drummer, Steve Ferrone, keeping time. Bill Payne, keyboardist par excellance from Little Feat doing his thing and other very capable folks that have names I'm not familiar with laying down a groove that is very good. If you want/need to know more about this cat I'd suggest going to the publik Music site and do some reading there or his personal website probably has some info too :-)
Myself, I'm looking to see if Stephen has other CD's out there floating around somwhere that I need to give a home to............Humor me here while I go thru this album a tune at a time.
Bigger Wheel - Yeah!, first time I heard this tune I was sold on this dude. Starts out with a great acoustic guitar riff and then a wailing harmonica, from there it just gets better. Damn near impossible to not move the feet around during this one. "I ain't no good at this, I'm tired of being afraid. Took a long time getting to the decision I've made......white flag, surrender, right here, right now, I'm out, game over, this down and out high roller has found a better deal, what I've got left, from here on out, I'm giving it up, to the bigger wheel".........
This Old World - Another Rockin' tune with a message. the guy can write a Chorus....."This old world needs love, let it rain down from the stars above, Get on board that train, 'cause this old world needs love".

Walk By Faith - first time I heard this cut the name Randall Bramblett came to mind. Who's he? well he's someone else you should be listening to also. He put out a couple solo albums in the "70's that I stumbled across and then he joined and fronted a great band called Sea Level and put out 4 or 5 albums with them. The piano on this cut sounds like a lot of the piano on the Bramblett albums and when I looked up the credits for the cut it turns out Bill Payne, the keyboard man for Little Feat does the honors.

Fading Man - Things slow down a bit for this great tune and another great chorus to sing along with is born...."Is anybody here? Can you find my shadow? Like a slow burning candle, I thought it would last. Seems like I've lost, what was too hard to handle, Now there's less of my future and more of my past"

Every Once In A While - Slowly the tempo starts to pick back up for this one......"I wouldn't recognize, the man I was before, if he was standing at my door, but every once in awhile in reflection, I see the shadow that's been following me, just a soul with no sense of direction, every once in a while I see, the man I used to be". More great keyboard work by Bill Payne and a tasty guitar interlude by Mr Bruton himself make this one another keeper.

The Clock - A great, great tune about this dead end road we're heading down.......This one is chock full of great one liners all tied up together. "And you want to know the future?....just keep repeating the past" and the ending lines made me chuckle the first time I heard 'em...."Night Night, Jammies on, doomsday clock". Some great wah wah pedal work by Mr. Bruton and great drumming and percussion really stand out in this cut.

Treasured Wounds - A nice slow waltz time tune with a great horn section about the scars that are a result of living life. " Now memories and shadows, grow long with the day, and come back to life when night has it's way, We're all old soldiers, we won the war, only to fall on our swords".

Put Me Out of Your Misery - Up beat and uptempo with more great horns and lyrics that'll make just about anybody smile if not outright laugh. "If we choose to stay, and trudge on through this life, I got a feeling, when I'm dead and gone, you'll make a better widow, than you ever would a wife" The one liners that he rattles off at the end of the tune over the great music are hilarious..."I'm so miserable without you it's almost like having you here" "The next time the phone don't ring....that'll be me".

The Halo Effect - I'm not embarrassed to admit I don't know what this song is about, although I have an idea. It gives me chills nevertheless to hear him sing it. I've considered writing and asking for clarification, but I'm pretty sure if he did answer me it'd be something along the lines of "it's all in there bud" or "if you don't get it, you just don't get it". At any rate I keep playing it and hope a light comes on that can't be suspected. "And what I choose to remember, is not what I regret, the halo effect"

That Moment When - Like I said, this album is chock full of great tunes and here's another one. To say I can relate to this tune would be an understatement. "Where were you headed, when life passed you by? Staring at the tail lights, as you started to cry" & "What was the instant that sealed your fate, froze the hands on the clock at a minute too late". Some big name could make a monster hit out of this tune, but I'd rather see the guy who wrote it, get the chance. Not likely it's gonna happen though....things being the way they are these days. Just glad I found it.

Ordinary Man - A rocker from the git go! "You quit your job and they call you crazy, some people say you're outa your mind, You quit your job and they call you lazy, but they'll take the credit, when you hit the big time, any ordinary man would've given it up by now"

In The Wind - A great closing tune for record or concert. This is one I'd like to learn the chords to so I can play it myself. Maybe I'll write him for the chords and then ask him about "The Halo Effect" as an afterthought "There's a lot of life still left ahead, there's a lot I can do without, and it feels like I've just begun, all that matters is from here on out......"

Think I'll play it one more time before I give it up for the day and go to bed. Great Stuff.



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