Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jimmy Nail-Growing Up In Public (1992)


Stepping on a nail in a glass factory to get your stage name? Ouch! Such is the humorously painful story of multi-talented British icon Jimmy Nail that I hadn't known about for years and years.....even right up until the very day that I got his second studio album, "Growing Up In Public". I guess it was that 'listen first, read about it later' thing taking place there. Are there any of you Jimmy Nail fans out there who thinks he sounds a lot like fellow British music legend Sting? Especially on this album's third song called "Laura", whose wistful lyrics give the song a melancholy overtone despite the breezy tempo and the warming groove. Must be that Newcastle accent of his. It's just one representation of lyrically and vocally artistic prowess, and I may as well say instrumental prowess as well. Another great representation demonstrating all three of these ingredients? The opening cut, "Ain't No Doubt". A chart-topping hit for Jimmy, this jubilantly jazzed-up jam jump starts the tunes with some fine trumpet-playing and a fabulous groove while Jimmy gets right down to the nitty-gritty about why this woman is no good for him (fabulous hook in the main chorus!). And I like the almost humorous way he simply replies 'she's lying' while the lady performs on guest vocals (never found out who that lady was exactly). Then in complete contrast the opener, Jimmy offers a glad hand on the breezy, easy-listening piece "Reach Out", with simply breathes romance all throughout the lyrics. "Only Love (Can Bring Us Home)": I could call it another one of those 'world songs'—those tunes with the important messages for the betterment of humankind—because it mentions things like millions of children being born into hunger and suggests only love will bring us all together. And I like that chanting of 'oh, oh, oh, yeah' by the background vocalists in the song's closeout movement; makes me think about those tribal African tunes, which always have a way of affecting my soul. Much happier lyrics to be heard on another beauty: coincidentally and simply entitled "Beautiful". Well, just the groovy, dreamy melody by itself is beautiful to listen to, especially when coupled with that jazzy interlude (boy, I've been mentioning that 'J word' a lot lately; must be telling me it's time to pull out another smooth jazz CD!). But the lyrics being earnestly voiced by the man who stepped on a nail in a glass factory adds an additional coating of embellishment to the music. I've gotta mention the 'J word' one more time, because "I Believed" gets the cool jazzing-up treatment, too, so that automatically makes it gain entry onto my favorites list. But the song that I consider to be the most mature offering on this "Growing Up In Public" album? The concluding piece, "Absent Friends". Here, a lovely bluesy rhythm, soft piano and hard rock guitar riffs back up the British singer who really does sound like he's feeling lost and blue expressing himself through the melancholy lyrics. Expressing himself extremely well, I might add, as you can tell he's reached down for something extra in order to deliver his strongest vocals that he's delivered on this entire album:

1. Ain't No Doubt
2. Reach Out
3. Laura
4. Waiting For Sunshine
5. Real Love
6. Only Love (Can Bring Us Home)
7. Wicked World
8. Beautiful
9. I Believed
10. Absent Friends

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