George Harrison – Cloud Nine

George Harrison - Cloud NineOkay, I admit it, I got this album mainly because ELO’s Jeff Lynne produced it with Harrison, as well as helping out with songwriting duties. The collaboration was a rare spark that re-ignited Lynne’s post-ELO career, and bested all of Harrison’s previous album sales. There was obviously some wisdom in pairing an ex-Beatle with a Beatle afficionado who had grown up learning all the nuances of the Beatles sound. In many places, though, it does sound like ELO with Harrison singing lead (the title track in particular sounds like it was lifted right off of Balance Of Power), though the best songs on the album are those where Harrison’s ability to craft a bittersweet or nutty pop tune were perfectly married to Lynne’s ability to produce such a song crisply. “Someplace Else”, “Devil’s Radio”, “This Is Love” and “That’s What It Takes” have always appealed to me much more than the two singles everyone remembers, the Beatles 4 out of 4tribute “When We Was Fab” and the boringly repetitive number one hit “I Got My Mind Set On You”. Why this album has not been followed up on with this unique combination of talent is a complete mystery to me. While the Traveling Wilburys were fun, they didn’t offer the enormous possibilities of further Harrison-Lynne collaborations.

Order this CD

  1. Cloud 9 (3:15)
  2. That’s What It Takes (4:01)
  3. Fish On The Sand (3:25)
  4. Just For Today (4:06)
  5. This Is Love (3:45)
  6. When We Was Fab (3:58)
  7. Devil’s Radio (3:53)
  8. Someplace Else (3:53)
  9. Wreck of the Hesperus (3:34)
  10. Breath Away From Heaven (3:36)
  11. Got My Mind Set On You (3:50)

Released by: Dark Horse
Release date: 1987
Total running time: 41:16

Johannes Brahms – Sextet #1 in B Flat Maj. – Op. 18

Johannes Brahms - Sextet #1 in B Flat Maj. - Op. 18I’ll admit it, I only tracked this down after becoming obsessed with the short snippet of the Andante Ma Moderato movement featured in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Sarek. This CD pressing of a 1952 monaural performance sounds an awful lot like – no, make that exactly the same version used in a pivotal scene in that show. I was curious as to what else there was to this lovely piece of music, and was not disappointed; my interest in it has certainly rating: 3 out of 4transcended the means through which I discovered it. If you’re into very heavy, funereal chamber music, I give this my highest recommendation; it’s one of my favorite classical pieces of all time. The slow, stately, mournful second movement alone is worth the price of purchase.

Order this CD

  1. Allegro ma non troppo (12:16)
  2. Adante, ma moderato (10:27)
  3. Scherzo – Allegro molto – Trio. Animato (2:53)
  4. Rondo – Poco allegretto e grazioso (11:08)

Released by: CBS Masterworks
Release date: 1952 (released on CD in 1988)
Total running time: 36:44

Moody Blues – Days Of Future Passed

Moody Blues - Days Of Future PassedI’ll probably be lynched for saying this, but here goes: Days Of Future Passed, not Sgt. Pepper, was the best rock album to come out in 1967. I can buy the arguments that Lennon and McCartney are/were masterful songwriters, and even that Sgt. Pepper was a huge technical leap for rock music. But the sheer beauty and depth of emotion with which the Moody Blues imbued their most famous – and so far unparallelled – album puts it light-years of the material the Beatles were turning out at the time. Days of Future Passed paints a humblingly poetic view of the progression of a single day, and the music keeps getting better as the “day” in question goes on. Naturally 4 out of 4everyone remembers “Tuesday Afternoon” – which was here titled “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)” – and “Nights In White Satin”, but my all-time favorite Moody Blues song has to be the exotic Mike Pinder tune “The Sun Set”. The combination of an unusual rhythm and the flowing orchestral melody never fail to entrance me. It’s definitely on my DNP Album List.

Order this CD

  1. The Day Begins (5:55)
  2. Dawn is a Feeling (3:48)
  3. Another Morning (3:56)
  4. Peak Hour (5:27)
  5. Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?) / (Evening) Time to Get Away (8:24)
  6. The Sun Set / Twilight Time (6:40)
  7. Nights in White Satin (7:32)

Released by: Deram
Release date: 1967
Total running time: 41:42