Brian Gari’s album is not the usual Glory Daze fair, but nevertheless it is in my opinion a welcome addition as it highlights the craft of songwriting and witty, intelligent lyrics.
Written by: Explorer
ARTIST: Brian Gari
ALBUM: Names Volume 1
LABEL: Original Cast Records
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Brian Gari – vocals, guitars, piano * Peter Millrose – all Instruments, backing vocals, panting * Bruce Hoffman – pedal steel * Brian and Jeanne Gari – additional backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Another Janet * 02 Dylan * 03 Better Stick With Steve * 04 Whatever Happened To Rocio? * 05 How Do I Keep Up With Nicole? * 06 Vivian * 07 Phil Ochs * 08 What’s A Party Without Arthur? * 09 It Ain’t Hank, The Waitress Suite * 10. Maddy * 11 Karlee’s Smile * 12 Sue Ann * 13 I’ll Say Goodbye To Martha * 14 Jean’s Flag * 15 Henry On Sundays
Bonus Tracks: 16 Philippe’s Theme * 17 Sue Ann (Manu Lafer) * 18 (Maria Clara Laet)
WEBLINKS: Site Link
‘Names Vol 1’ is a Brian Gari’s follow up to last years ‘Jeanne’s Album’, which I also reviewed here at Glory Daze. Comprised of some 15 tracks plus three bonus tracks and features songs about the likes of Phil Ochs, the actress Marta Heflin, the Broadway composer, Arthur Siegel and many other names that might be familiar (or not as the case may be !).
This album draws on Gari’s influences that range from the likes of the Beach Boys, Jimmy Webb, Rupert Holmes and Gilbert O’Sullivan.This album is as I alluded to in my review of ‘Jeanne’s Album’ is not the usual Glory Daze fair, but nevertheless it is in my opinion a welcome addition as it highlights the craft of song writing and witty, intelligent lyrics.
As the album title implies, all the songs feature characters that Brian Gari has either met or (I’m guessing here) summoned up from his own (fertile) imagination, and very much in keeping with ‘Jeanne’s Album’ is full of astute observations, and memorable melodic hooks.
Tracks such as ‘Better Stick With Steve’ and ‘Dylan’ are real earworms, and ‘Vivian’ as I’ve now discovered is a reference to VeeJay Records mentor Vivian Carter who was responsible for the very earliest US releases of (amongst others) The Beatles catalogue, but I’ve also uncovered the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim through Gari here.
Jobim was a significant player in Brazil and helped internationalise the iconic Bossa Nova sound, and the track ‘Sue Ann’ manages to reference rather cleverly other Jobim songs, and there’s also ‘The Waitress Suite’ which is a lovely exercise in witty storytelling. Everything here never outstays it’s welcome, the songwriting is always concise and production-wise it’s all very complementary to the style on offer.
I’m finding myself being drawn to music like this these past few years. This is an album but, yes an album that I can play from start to finish, usually in the evening. It’s music that has some exquisite lyrics and yes it is easy on the ear. Stylistically, it sits comfortably alongside the likes of Randy Newman, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Carole King. Praise indeed. Probably not for everyone here at Glory Daze but Brian Gari floats my boat right now.
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