Mine and Yours
It's hard to listen to David Mead and not hear Paul McCartney. Mead's quiet pop song sense and gentle delivery bring repeated comparisons to McCartney's late '70s solo work. I said the same thing two years ago when his debut album, The Luxury of Time appeared. And if Mead can't help singing and writing in a literate McCartney vein, well, that's OK — McCartney's not doing it these days, and it's a joy to listen to somebody pick up the mantle!
Unfortunately for Mead, his elegant little ditties are rarely so catchy that they instantly stick in your head and make you hit the repeat button. His style is a more insidious one; much like the work of Crowded House, his lilting falsetto croons grow more affecting on each subsequent listen. Rather than being in-your-face about his hooks, Mead's is a smoother sense. That makes listening to his albums a holistic experience. Put it on and let him take you on a ride through clouds of sweet melody and harmony.
When his voice soars atop the guitars and drums to sing of the "Echoes of a Heart," you can feel his emotion. When he writes his ode to "Elodie," you wish you'd met her. And when he sings of a "Girl On The Roof," you don't think much about the words at first … but then start to wonder about her.
Mine and Yours is a quiet bit of pop perfection. Its only fault is that it won't crack radio station programmers over the head with infectious genius if they only give it one listen. I left it repeatedly playing on the CD player for a few days as I drove to and from work … it took me three or four listens before I said, "Geez, this is a really slick, fine, catchy album." It's the kind of music you can't help but hum along to as it plays behind you.
Put it on a few times and see if you agree.
New on the Shelves
Sony's Legacy label has a treat for fans of Electric Light Orchestra. Four of the band's classic albums have been digitally remastered by ELO singer-songwriter Jeff Lynne and released with bonus tracks from the original album sessions. Eldorado (1974), Discovery (1979), Time (1981) and Secret Messages (1983) all have received the polishing treatment, and feature restored album artwork, additional archival photos and new track-by-track notes from Lynne. These albums featured hits like "Can't Get it Out of My Head," "Rock 'N' Roll Is King," "Four Little Diamonds," "Don't Bring Me Down," "Hold on Tight," and more. Each features two-three bonus tracks that were left on the cutting room floor during the album recording sessions…
The Rhino label has paired up with Warner Bros. to release a two-disc anthology of funkmeister Bootsy Collins. As a member of of Funkadelic and Parliament in the '70s, and as the leader of his own Rubber Band, Collins served as a huge influence on Prince, The Time and the other funk acts of the '80s. The Bootsy Collins Anthology features 35 songs covering the work of Bootsy and his Rubber Band from 1976-1982. Rhino also has a gift for folk fans. Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom 1950-1970 is a three-CD box set with 72 songs from the likes of Woody Guthrie, The Weavers, Odetta, Pete Seeger, Hoyt Axton, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie and many more.
If you're looking for more exotic music, American/Legacy has released The Final Studio Recordings, a double-CD set of previously unreleased material by vocalist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The singer was famous for his interpretations of the mystical, devotional singing known as Qawwali, a component of Islamic Sufism. He was noted during his short life (he died at age 49 in 1997) as inspiring and collaborating with Michael Brooks, Peter Gabriel, Joan Osborne and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder.
The label is also releasing the self-titled U.S. debut album of Nusrat's nephew, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Rahat was chosen by his famous uncle to assume the mantle of Qawwali singing from him and has, since his uncle's death, toured the world bringing the complex vocal form to the ears of thousands.