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Product: Audio CD
Title: Bridge Over Troubled Water/This Is The Night
Label: RCA
Artist: Clay Aiken
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Another great Clay Aiken moment

This single is fabulous-he does a beautiful job!!! I can't wait for his first album to come out!!! He sings from his heart and we are blessed w/ an angels voice!!!

Product: Audio CD
Title: Halcyon Days
Label: Sony
Artist: Bruce Hornsby
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
With "Halcyon Days" Hornsby Double-Handedly Shines

With this debut disc on his new record label, Bruce Hornsby steals the show from Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame Inductee guests Elton John, Eric Clapton and Sting and somehow manages to simultaneously recaputure the vitality and variety of the golden age of the concept album. Hornsby once had a band called the Range, but it has taken him over a decade after the demise of that ensemble to release a studio album demonstrating the truly wide range of his musical reference (though the pure jazz and bluegrass tangents he often enjoys exploring are largely absent on this disc).

"Halcyon Days" is in many ways a tribute to the days when rock music really mattered, and the presence of three of England's music legends of recent decades is appropriate since British bands such as the Beatles and the Who were among the pioneers of the concept albums--song cycles with recurring musical or lyrical themes. The wonderful packaging of "Halcyon Days" also harkens back to the era when another Hornsby influence, the brilliant Leon Russell, posed in pancake makeup on the cover of his classic "Carny" LP, as Bruce does in an interior photo in the CD booklet here (and as Bob Dylan did during many of his Rolling Thunder Revue gigs nearly three decades ago). The masterful new track here called "Circus on the Moon" is certainly one of the great songs ever written about the dilemma of the underappreciated artist and it fits the "Carny" mold as well as it follows the tradition of other great songs with similar thematic elements ranging from Bruce Springsteen's "Wild Billy's Circus Story" to The Band's "W.S. Walcott Medicine Show."

Hornsby has said in recent interview that this album is partly about the theme of childhood and inspired by his twin sons. The title track is a moving ballad about a parent's--or artist's--desire to provide happiness to those he loves. One of the most moving songs Hornsby has ever recorded, the song includes a wealth of riches including guest vocals from Sting and a classic Clapton guitar solo. Numerous Hornsby lyrics have references to classic Southern authors and "Halcyon Days" is no exception as the title track contains a fine line that borrows the title of Virginia-born author William Styron's book on his battle with depression, "Darkness Visible."

Comic relief follows that serious song, in the form of an inventive and imaginatively produced dixieland-circus-sounding, Randy Newman-like track titled "What the Hall Happened to Me." The next track, a light-hearted but lovely narrative about a child winning a spelling bee continues the piano driven but nicely orchestrated sound that dominates the last portion of the disc, again with the performance theme repeated: "I hope someday they'll say hooray for me..."

One of the most ambitious pieces on this very ambitious album is Hornsby's latest in his alphabet series of instrumentals--"Song F." This one is highlighted by a perfectly realized orchestral backing arranged by talented longtime Horsby band member J.T. Thomas. "Heir Gordon" is another track light on lyrics but heavy on wonderful piano playing and production values.

This is that rare recording that keeps calling to be played over--and over. I remember classic concept albums with that quality and it is wonderful to find another one in these days when the "album" as a concept is supposedly dead. Thanks to Bruce Hornsby for providing a glimpse back to those "Halcyon Days" and a hope for more in the future.

-Charlie Young

Product: Audio CD
Title: Sleeping Gypsy
Label: Warner Brothers
Artist: Michael Franks
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
This is it !

What can I write about this incredible piece of music. I was introduced to Michael Franks from this CD. I was living in Atlanta, Georgia in 1989, and this old friend was a huge music lover and he wanted me to listen to this album he bought in 1978. He had the CD and I was immediately hooked from the first track "The Lady Wants to Know." The melody and laid-back delivery of Michael's vocals grabbed me. I listened to the entire CD that evening with my old friend and I became Michael Franks's fan since that day. If wanted to introduce a new listener to Michael Franks, run out to the store and buy them this CD. Bravo!!!!

Product: Audio CD
Title: Giant Steps
Label: Atlantic
Artist: John Coltrane
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
good, but don't see what the fuss is all about

A very famous album, but somehow it kind of bores me. There's alot of originals that have become standards, and for that reason alone it's worth getting to know, since it's always fun when you hear someone else play a song you know. But as I said, it's not one of my favorites. Don't get me wrong, it's a decent album. Naima is wonderful, and there's plenty of strong tracks.
When I introduce this album to friends who know even less about jazz than me, it's not nearly as appealing to them as, say Kind of Blue or Ah-Um would be.