Tag Archives: Sea of Tranquility

US Review: Ray Vaughn “Wounded Bird”

15 Jan

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http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=19306

Vaughn, Ray: Wounded Bird

A musical child of the late 70s, singer and guitarist Ray Vaughn was a founding member of punk art rockers Hostages before going on to bring avant-garde outfit Die Bosa Nova to bare on an unsuspecting audience. However by 1992 Vaughn was off the scene, another in the many who seemed destined to make a long lasting mark, retreating into obscurity. A surprise solo return, Way Down Low, appeared in 2013, a singer-songwriter approach finding Vaughn still sharp in attack and tough in outlook. Wounded Bird is the follow up, Vaughn still shining a light on the modern world and the issues hitting it, while offering up equally shuddering musical backing. Aided by a band made up of James DePrato (Chuck Prophet) on guitar and mandolin, Ed Rawlings (Hostage) on electric guitar, Kevin T White (Chuck Prophet) on bass and Prairie Prince (The Tubes, Todd Rundgren) on drums, it should come as little surprise that the spiky, urgent rock music Vaughn serves up, is tight and focused, while still holding a real vibrancy.

Vocally Vaughn may be an acquired taste, his unconventional Jello Biafra meets Tom Petty attack never the most precise missile, although in terms of attitude it hits the bull’s eye every time. And that’s key here, if you’re looking for the honest, but sometimes easy ride that many guys like Bruce Springsteen or Jackson Browne provide, you need to take Vaughn’s punk background into account when you approach Wounded Bird.A cover of New Order’s “True Faith” is barely recognisable and yet it hits hard and gets it point across, while the uneasy country vibes of “Change In Latitude” soothe and unsettle in equal measure. However it’s through the controlled anarchy of “Human Calculator” and hustle bustle of “Wounded Bird” where Vaughn and his chums really take their strongest swipes, the former sharp and jagged with a no compromise stare, the latter injecting a real sense of urgency. That said, with “Been Away Too Long” infusing an off kilter R.E.M. judder and “Rain” a controlled call for help, there really aren’t many moments in this relatively short CD that don’t, given time, pull you into Ray Vaughn’s way of thinking.He may be a Wounded Bird, but with his latest album, Ray Vaughn is still flying high.
Track Listing
1. Human Calculator
2. Wounded Bird
3. True Faith
4. Change in Latitude
5. Song for You
6. Been Away Too Long
7. Rain
8. It Happened on Willow Street

Added: January 1st 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score: 

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US Review: Jennifer Saran “Wake Up”

11 Dec

http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=20478

Saran, Jennifer: Wake Up

Jennifer Saran is a Hong Kong based singer songwriter with a new album titled Wake Up, the follow up to her holiday album Merry Christmas, You Are Loved released in 2015. First things first. If you are solely into progressive rock you might as well stop reading this immediately as this is adult contemporary pop music with the occasional nod to jazz and soul. To prove my point the first time I put this in the player my wife replied, “this is nice.” She is not the biggest prog rock fan if you get my drift although she does like the occasional helping of Floyd and Rush. The album recording is top notch with the instruments and vocals very clear. On the plus side Saran does have a beautiful voice and she also gets help from the African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo on three tracks including the lead off title tune which also includes lead guitar from Carlos Santana. Here is playing is reserved and mostly set back in the mix although it is always a treat to hear the man play. The rest of the songs are mostly slow to mid-tempo balladic fair with ear candy choruses and lush strings.

My favourite song is the Billy Paul tribute “Me and Mr. Jones”, a nicely crafted soulful ballad and a real throwback to a bygone era. The synth solo in the infectious “Look At Me Fly” is also quite nice. The heartwarming “Old Cape Cod” is another nod to old time pop music.Being that I mostly listen to much heavier music I probably won’t play this much but over the holiday season this just might hit the spot when wanting something light and airy. And hey, my better half will likely appreciate it.Track Listing:
1. Wake Up (4:36)
2. Jesus To A Child Tribute to George Michael (5:11)
3. Really (4:10)
4. Me and Mr. Jones – Tribute to Billy Paul (4:50)
5. You Are My Star (4:25)
6. Too Young To Know (4:16)
7. Better Than Me – ‘for anjali’ (3:23)
8. Look At Me Fly (4:02)
9. Old Cape Cod – Tribute to Patti Page (3:30)
10. Try To Forgive (But I Cannot Forget) (4:24)
11. Lean On Me – Tribute to Bill Withers (4:42)
12. Grace Is The Champion (3:32)
13. I Will Always Be Your Home (4:16)
14. My Love and Devotion – Tribute to Doris Day (4:18)
15. Aad Guray (5:42)

Added: November 27th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score: 
Related Link: Artist’s Official Site
Hits: 28
Language: english

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