Friday, October 16, 2015

Tommy Emmanuel-Collaboration (1998)


Cross-referencing artists to discover new music is a fun pastime of mine. I'd recently been gifted a compilation of greatest hits by the Australian boyband CDB—called "The Essential CDB"—which I'd been listening to passionately seemingly non-stop for the past couple of weeks. Of course, with these compilation releases, there's usually some extra tracks not found on the artist's regular studio albums, and in CDB's case, one of those extra tracks was their sublime cover of the EARTH, WIND & FIRE classic, "After The Love Has Gone". With my mind being locked in CDB mode for so many days, natural curiosity got the best of me when I determined that I'd soon embark on a mission to obtain all of CDB's singles. That's when my preliminary investigations led me to additional details regarding "After The Love Is Gone", where I would discover that the EARTH, WIND & FIRE cover was actually a joint collaboration with an Aussie musician named Tommy Emmanuel. And that soon led me to obtaining Tommy's collection of treats appropriately entitled "Collaboration", as each of the twelve song selections is a duet of some kind, whether instrumental or vocal. I was already highly satisfied with just having CDB's remake of "After The Love Is Gone", which sounds nearly exactly like that jazzy late-70's original, but there were even more surprising thrills for me beyond that! I could start with the festive Latin-flavored guitar instrumental cut that opens up the album: "Fiesta". A real music party happening on this one! Then there's some serious jammin' happenin' on the follow-up instrumental cut, "Mary Had A Little Jam" (love that title; a little twist on that popular nursery rhyme there), where the guitar once again rules with some snazzy organ playing accompanying the strings. Skipped past "After The Love Has Gone" (I'd heard it so many times!) to check out the cool rockabilly cut "Workin' Man Blues" featuring the voice of a Troy Cassar-Daley whom I've never heard of before. Ah, and then after that is something that totally made my day: hearing another one of my all-time favorite boybands, HUMAN NATURE, performing a beautiful cover of John Lennon's golden oldie "Imagine". There was no mistaking those familiar lyrics—'you may say I'm a dreamer'—and the excellent harmony by the HUMAN NATURE boys, which gives it an especially magical touch. I would imagine all of the HUMAN NATURE lovers and John Lennon fans alike will find this to be magical as well! Surprise, surprise again on this album's seventh track, "For The First Time", where another familiar guest Aussie artist contributes his voice: Rick Price. Never having heard this song before either, plus the fact that I hadn't listened to anything altogether by Rick in quite a while, made for a dazzling 5+ minutes of beautiful romantic mellowness; it was like love at first sight all over again from both a lyrical and a musical point of view! Been a long time since I'd heard yet another familiar Australian artist: LITTLE RIVER BAND. Had forgotten that Glenn Shorrock was that legendary group's lead singer, but there was no forgetting his awesome voice when I tuned in to "Reminiscing". All of the aforementioned selections was more than enough to make me a happy man, but putting the icing on the cake for me ten times over were the collective smooth jazz pieces: "Amanda's Room", where the sexy saxophone takes center stage; "Change For Good", which is one of the dreamiest instrumentals you'll hear with the soft guitar and piano combo at work here; and the breezy and sunny "Last Time I Saw You". The music here on Tommy Emmanuel's "Collaboration" is right on point to say the least, and I'm sure I'll be collaborating with this man again on future listening projects:

1. Fiesta (featuring guitarist Slava Grigoryan)
2. Mary Had A Little Jam (featuring trumpeter James Morrison)
3. After The Love Is Gone (featuring harmony group CDB)
4. Workin’ Man Blues (featuring Troy Cassar-Daley)
5. Imagine (featuring harmony group Human Nature)
6. Amanda’s Room (featuring Ben Northey on Alto Sax)
7. For The First Time (featuring Rick Price)
8. Reminiscing (featuring Glenn Shorrock)
9. Change For Good (featuring Randy Goodrum on Piano and Keyboards)
10. Last Time I Saw You (featuring Ben Northey on Alto Sax)
11. Smokey Mountain Lullaby (featuring Chet Atkins on guitar)
12. Imagine (reprise) (featuring Human Nature)

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