Sunday, July 27, 2014

SIX WAS NINE-Walk With The Spirits (1996)


The music spirits up above must've been watching over me when, at last, I was able to get my hands on a rarity that was requested what seems like a lifetime ago. So today, I finally had my first 'walk with the spirits' and with the German soul/pop band, SIX WAS NINE (which is not to be confused with the Jimi Hendrix song "If Six Was Nine", though I wonder if the band's name was inspired by that said song) when I checked out their marvelously soulicious third studio album. Heck&mdsash;all of their albums are probably marvelously soulicious! I'm just getting acquainted with the band, but whichever one of the members is the lead singer, he voice is absolutely fabulous! I wanna say that he sounds a lot like GO WEST's Peter Cox—that straining soulful voice with a lot of fire behind it! And now I'm wondering who's attention I've grabbed out there with me mentioning that little blurb..... Well, it should get your attention, but if I hadn't written that blurb and you just started listening to the music, then hearing the SIX WAS NINE vocalist on the album's opener, "Mission Of Love", will do the trick quite nicely! It's here where you're introduced to the band's sound which, despite them being tagged as soul/pop, it's more of a fusion when you consider the added funk, rock and jazz—definitely emphasis on the funk and rock with the organ accompanying many of the selections throughout, including "Mission Of Love". After that eye-popping opener, then the funkier song of dedication to a woman named "Donna Lee" (the beat here kinda has faint shades of THE TRAMMPS' "Disco Inferno" without the actual disco), it's a gritty song from the soul on the Southern-inspired "Born On The Bayou". A German band singing about New Orleans, Louisiana? It very well could be a cover song or just the creation of one of the band's writers, but either way, it's great! The lyrics have that hearty, country backroads feel about it, which is one of the things I appreciate about country music. Aside from the cool deep jungle ambiance heard in the beginning, I love it when the song suddenly cranks up the tempo for a rollicking rockin' n' rollin' good time tat makes me think about square dancing polka style. My walk with the spirits reached its zenith during the middle portion of the album, beginning a few tracks later with "(Whatever Happened To) Peace, Love & Happiness", which is not to be confused with the similarly-titled rock classic, "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding"—parentheses and all. A bit of a bluesy overtone and a soulful lady on backup vocals mix in this time with the already great funky pop fusion. Another tune to add to my growing catalog of 'important songs for the people', as the songwriter tells about how we need peace, love and happiness, yet he is left asking what has happened to it all. Things get a bit teary-eyed, but the music is still at its peak on the bluesy slow number, "The Right To Walk Away". It's one of those where you can tell in the first few seconds that it's gonna be an amazing song, but gets even better when the backup singers chime in. 'Once you fall in love too deep, it's hard to climb out': that's the line that I've taken from these soul-wrenching lyrics. Sometimes, the best songs have little to do about love, and "Work To Do" is a prime example of that. It's the case of a hard-working man having to set aside romance as he's trying to earn his dollar, plain and simple. But what makes it stand out is the terrific production accompanying it, particularly the extended instrumental sequence that seemingly plays on and on forever. One more song I really like is the album's finale, "Drop Dead Beautiful". The story with this one is the songwriter being attracted not to his own woman, but his best friend's woman, and wishing that best friend was blind so he couldn't see what was going on and, thus, avoid any possible drama altogether. So my first 'walk with the spirits' was indeed a heavenly one, and I invite you to take that same walk and let them lead you on this powerful musical journey:

1. Mission Of Love
2. Donna Lee
3. Born On The Bayou
4. Searching For A Soul
5. Test Of Time
6. World Outside My Door
7. (Whatever Happened To) Peace, Love & Happiness
8. The Right To Walk Away
9. Work To Do
10. A Place In The Sun
11. If That's The Way That This Love Goes
12. Drop Dead Beautiful [Remix]

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