This album is quite a bit different from Geoff’s first album, which i posted last month. Where that album was spare, this album is lush. Several of the tracks feature electric guitar, bass, drums, even horns (gasp!). While usually I consider increased production like this a step down for the artist, in Geoff’s case it was a step up. You see, unlike the hordes of hackneyed producers unleashing horns and string sections on unsuspecting folkies in the hope of cashing in on the whitebread middleground market, Geoff actually knew how to arrange and produce in a tasteful, subtle, and highly musical way. A master of tone color a-la Duke Ellington, soon after this album Geoff turned to composition and arrangement full-time.
This album touches on R&B (Sloppy Drunk), classical music re-arranged as acoustic guitar duets (Chopin’s Prelude in Em; Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy), soul (River’s Invitation), old cheeseball pop, country & jazz standards/obscurities/novelties (Washboard Blues, La Juanda, Carolina Sunshine Girl), hard chicago-style blues (My Tears Come Rolling Down), and avant-garde Zappa-esque excursions (Chicken Stew, pt.1), dream-folk instrumentals (Dance of the Coloured Elves), and transcendent dixieland gospel (Beautiful Isle of Somewhere). All these tunes are deftly re-arranged and often sound vastly different from the originals.
All these disparate styles flow seamlessly together, like streams merging to become the great American musical river. There are two things that make this work. First, there is the incredibly laid-back, gently rollicking, rock-steady tempo that consumes all the songs. Like the cover, this is an album of water music. It flows, never rushing, never stopping. The songs glide together like passing scenes and memories from a riverboat ride. Secondly, there is Amos Garrett’s incredible guitar playing. A vastly underrated guitarist, Amos has an instantly recognizable tone on either acoustic or electric guitar, as rich and full of vibrato as Geoff’s singing. His stringbending would make Eric Clapton break out in a sweat. Amos’ guitar feels, well, liquid; supported by his warm baritone voice, it is the perfect match for these lazy, mellifluous songs.
Geoff Muldaur & Amos Garrett – Geoff & Amos
Label: Flying Fish
Get mellow, get wet.
mr (straight from vinyl) | mp3 192+kbps vbr | w/ cover | 52 mb
This album is only available on cd as an expensive japanese import. But if you like this stuff, you’d probably enjoy Geoff Muldaur’s Shiver Me Timbers: The Best of the Early Years on his own label, if you can find it.