Thursday, November 29, 2012

Last Best Record Of 2012

Wacky career move or small slab of genius?

Sorry you purists, but I'm going for the latter.

My first reaction upon reading that the new Bryan Ferry album featured a collection of Roxy Music tunes reimagined as depression-era jazz instrumentals, was a painful, medulla-damaging eyeroll. But as a longtime fan of pre-Avalon Roxy, and the occasional Ferry solo album, I went in, benefits given to all doubts. Doubts that have been sitting firm in my memory thanks to Ferry's recent craplike reimaginings of Dylan tunes and the semi-snoozefest that was his last, "Olympia."

No matter how cynical you may be, it's hard to dismiss this record as anything but brilliant. You don't need to be a Roxy fan to enjoy this, especially if you love this type of jazz. But if you happen to be a fan of both, what Bryan Ferry and his bandmates have created here is something truly special.

Recorded to sound vintage, the arrangements might baffle those familiar with the material and looking for an easy entry into the melodies. It was a demanding listen at first, but once I caught on, I was not only pleasantly surprised, I was blown away.

I won't gush anymore. I will just say, this record has really made me happy.


Gyro1966 said...

i just picked this up floating around on the net, I'll have to play it today on your suggestion. BTW- I've really started enjoying the latest Neil Young double LP.

buzzbabyjesus said...

This is one I know I'll like before Inhear it. I like "As Time Goes By" quite a bit and that is in large part due to the arrangements. He got it right.

Anonymous said...

great idea, great execution

and great restraint for not singing on it



Elroy said...

Sal, I take it you are not a fan of "Avalon"? It's one of my favorite albums though I admit to not having a lot of exposure to earlier Roxy Music music. Just the fact that "Avalon" enabled the "Lost In Translation" scene of Bill Murray singing "More Than This" to exist is reason enough for me.

I enjoy the website very much!

Jeff Matthews said...

It took me awhile to hear the Strand chord progressions here. Cool. Where can you get this (not on iTunes)?

A walk in the woods said...

Cool! It reminds of something I was musing on the other day... how Dylan has gotten cooler by getting less cool. That is - while acts like U2 (in their glittering modernism state of late) and even the Stones (Mick trying to look like a 28 year old, and from a distance almost succeeding)... Dylan has gotten more respect, become more cool, by drawing even more deeply on music and writers so old and dusty many of us barely knew about them until Dylan raised them to the spotlight again - Charlie Patton, "That Lonesome Road" by Gene Austin from the 20's which Dylan based 2001's "Sugar Baby" on, the Titanic from 100 years ago for cryin' out loud.

Same with Ferry, it appears, in this case. Even the once-don of modernism knows that unless he does a Scott Walker-like Bish Bosch turn, can't keep up with the most modern music - and so he goes retro.

I like the concept a lot. Looking forward to hearing this whole thing. Esp since I've been mini-obsessed with early Roxy Music lately. Those guys KILLED in their time, and it still sounds fresh today.

Gene Oberto said...


Plus, like Anonymous said, great restraint in Ferry not singing, though I would have liked him to sing "Do the Strand" through a megaphone.

This shows that modern music would hold up well in different eras. Just as we can enjoy the music from the 1920s, the '20s could have enjoyed this. One can imagine that "Avalon" would be popular in both, maybe all, eras.

Anonymous said...


precisely why it's such a great restraint!!..could have easily had a ferry croon..thru a megaphone ala rudy vallee..would have fit right in... & he's crooned before!




i'm sure the Record co. would have wanted ferry singing on a ferry record!!...



which is why


and last minute

record of the year

tho nada surf/matt caws(smart, hooks, rockin)
is close/=