Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi on May 9, 1991 · Page 51
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Clarion-Ledger from Jackson, Mississippi · Page 51

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Jackson, Mississippi
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Thursday, May 9, 1991
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Page 51
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fMgMWn Thursday, May 9, 199 1 The Clarion-Ledger 5E Yes isn't magic word on unfocused 'Union' disc By Jeff Edwards Clarion-Ledger TV Editor The musical Union of Yes should satisfy the longtime fans, but the inconsistent, sometimes noisy disc is not likely to attract a new following for the group. Union is just what it says: a joining of the various members who have shuttled in and out of Yes since the band formed in '68. It takes up four pages of the CD booklet just to list all of the various and confusing song credits. But basically, Union brings together the following Yes-men: Jon Anderson, Bill Bru-ford, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White, Tony Kaye and Trevor Rabin. All of them are currently on a "Yes-shows '91" concert tour. From the powerful and startling opening notes, the music is unmistakably Yes. Jon Anderson's high-pitched vocals still travel over a lush, moody musical landscape, busy with keyboards, synthesizers, percussion and guitars. The group still can caress and crunch the music within a single song. It's a sound Yes perfected on the brilliant Close to the Edge album of 1972, and in the 18-minute electronic symphony of the title. But while Union has its powerful and majestic musical moments, the disc doesn't of- I RECORD rS REVIEW Vv I , O 1 v& rss. " r if v;: j' fer up any truly memorable songs. The single release, Lift Me Up, and several other selections seem to go one for an improvisational eternity without any distinctive or catchy melody. Maybe the best way to describe Union is bulky. Too many people are trying to contribute too much material, and the album feels the burden. Everything is excessive. That's what makes Steve Howe's simplistic guitar solo, Masquerade, sound so refreshing. And, when Saving My Heart arrives, it sounds absolutely poppy. They should try this one on the radio. Also standing out from the clutter is Angkor Wat, a spooky, airy song that nearly falls into the space or New Age music categories. J Would Have Waited Forever gets the album off to a fine, trademark-Yes start. The song rides the Yes-coaster, going up and down between a gentle and giant sound It's a long, multi-faceted piece, which seems to be the major formula for Union. Yes-fans will be happy for the reunion (including the return of the familiar, fantastical cover art by Roger Dean). Union has just enough drama to keep them interested. But for the uninitiated those unfamiliar with the hectic, bombastic Yes-fusion of rock, jazz and classical styles Union's 65-plus minutes of music can become annoying. The group, in whatever Yes-form it takes in the future, needs to stabilize, find some direction and hone the songwriting. Union shows the talent is still there in abundance. Top singles 1 . Joyride Roxette 2. Baby, Baby Amy Grant 3. Hike the Way Hi-Five 4. Here We Go C & C Music Factory, with Freedom Williams 5. Touch Me (All Night Long) Cathy Dennis 6. Touch Myself Divinyls 7. Rhythm of My Heart Rod Stewart 8. Don't Wanna Cry Mariah Carey 9. More Than Words Extreme 10. Cry for Help Rick Astley Country singles l.lflKnowMe GeorgeStrait 2. Rockin' Years Dolly Parton with Ricky Van Shelton 3. Are You Lovin ' Me Like I'm Lovin ' You Ronnie Milsap 4. In A Different Light Doug Stone 5. Drift Off to Dream Travis Tritt 6. Down Home Alabama 7. Heroes Paul Overstreet 8. Meet In the Middle Diamond Rio 9. Time Passes By Kathy Mattea 10. You're the One Dwight Yoakam Source: Billboard Publications, Inc. Top albums 1. Mariah Carey Mariah Carey 2. Gonna Make You Sweat C & C Music Factory 3. Out of Time R.E.M. 4. Wilson Phillips Wilson Phillips 5. Shake Your Money Maker The Black Crowes 6. MCMXCA.D. Enigma 7. New Jack City Soundtrack 8. Heart Shaped World Chris Isaak 9. Empire Queensryche 10. Vagabound Heart Rod Stewart Rhythm & blues singles 1. Call Me Phil Perry 2. It Should've Been You Teddy Pendergrass 3. I'm Dreamin' Christopher Williams 4. Backyard Pebbles with Salt-n-Pepa 5. Don't Want to Lose Your Love B Angie B 6. Kissing You Keith Washington 7. Here WeGo C&C Music Factory, with Freedom Williams 8. Your Love Part 2 Keith Sweat 9. She's Dope! Bell Biv Devoe 10. Wanna Sex You Up Color Me Badd 'Coronation' re-enacts dazzling show of Venice pomp By Steve Sheppard Special to The Clarion-Ledger There is no better cure for musical boredom than the Italian Renaissance. The problem ignoring the intervention of 400 years is how to get it without flyingto Florence. While PBS is good for at least one show a year on the glory that was Venice, record companies have just spotted this new classical genre: Renaissance spectacles on disc. The first of these to arrive is A Venetian Coronation 1595, by the Gabrieli Consort & Players, conducted by musical historian Paul McCreesh. Unsurprisingly, all of them are in the stable of innovative musicians at Virgin Classics. The musical catalogs have a full run of brass music by Giovanni Gabrieli, but A Venetian Coronation shows an entirely new approach. It is a sonic reconstruction of the investiture of Marino Grimani as the doge of Venice, something between making a king RECORD r-gS REVIEW and electing a chairman of the board at IBM. Most of it was written by Gabrieli, then an . organist of St. Mark's. Despite accounts by observers, there is no record of the program, which has been reconstructed through diaries and some guesswork. The performance is a mixture of work for brass choir, organ, solo chanter, full choir, censors and clarion bells. It builds around the liturgy of the service as it was modified in St. Mark's for the ceremony, including a sung epistle. Stereo and miking distances are used to full effect to create the sense of positioning and movement The performance is strong throughout, particularly given the problems of balance among the various forces. One of the most outstanding moments is the synthesis of voices, organs and brass in the sanctus. The acoustic is live, giving enough echo to suggest the size of St. Mark's, but the voices are still clear and recognizable. This is achieved at a price, and if there is a criticism, it is that the recording was not made in the five-domed Basilica of St. Mark but in a gothic priory in the North of England. Admittedly, the decision may have been to present a better sound rather than an accurate acoustic. This combination of normally disparate music done here around the single theme delivers a full sense of the occasion. It is presented with beauty and simplicity, despite the complexity of the polyphonal forces in place. New classical releases can be heard on Public Radio in Mississippi (91.3 FM in Jackson) from 9 a.m.-noon every Monday. RECORDS In brief From staff and wire reports Sheena Easton, What Comes Naturally : Light years removed from her Morning Train days, Easton sets out to prove she's hot stuff on this consistently forgettable collection of dance tracks. Save the somewhat lively title tune, the only song of interest is the balladic Forever Friends, worthy as a break from the endless groove. Joe Walsh, Ordinary Average Guy: The title track revises and drains his Life's Been Good, and the rest of this surprisingly soft album, Walsh's first since '87, is about as interesting. Cowboy Junkies, Whites Off Earth Now: This U.S. debut of the Canadian band's first album (from 1986) is relentlessly bleak, but beautifully performed. The cover-heavy collection include cool versions of Bruce Springsteen's State Trooper, Robert Johnson's Crossroads and John Lee Hooker's Decoration Day. Londonbeat, In the Blood : This group pumps out the best dance music on the floor. But they also reintroduce some terrific old-fashioned singing by Jimmy Helms, George Chandler and Jimmy Chambers who give a super turn to No Woman No Cry and Getcha Ya Ya. Ashley Cleveland, Big Town : Suddenly, every label needs a straight-shooting woman. Rickie Lee Jones and Bonnie Raitt are covert influences here, but on Up From the Ether and the funny commentary I'll Call You, Cleveland reveals a dark, doubting spirit of her own. The Forester Sisters, Tal-kin' 'Bout Men : The singing kinswomen weigh in with a pretty disc that's heavy on the harmony, easy on the homey. The more-or-less title track, Men, is already a minor hit on the country charts for its can't-live-with-'em theme alone; That Makes One of Us is a solid follow-up. Various artists, The Complete StaxVolt Singles 1959-1968 : The mother of all boxed CD sets, this nine-disc collection gathers the soul-pop standards that made up the soundtrack of lusty backseat make-out sessions. The electrifying highlights include Wilson Pickett's In the Midnight Hour and Otis Redding's Dock of the Bay. Irma Thomas, Simply the Best : Rowdy live sets recorded at Slim's in San Francisco. The raw, urgent songs run from some early Thomas favorites (Hip Shakin ' Mama) to classic soul (an Otis Redding medley). James Cotton, Mighty Long Time : This is the real blues stuff, the kind Cotton has been singing in clubs for 40 years, helped considerably by fine musicians and modern recording techniques on tunes like Straighten Up, Baby and Hold Me in Your Arms.

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