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Baja Sessions

4.7 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 8 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise
  • ASIN: B000002N9X
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,637 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Pretty Girls Don't Cry
2. Back On Your Side
3. Only The Lonely
4. South Of The Border (Down Mexico Way)
5. I Wonder
6. Wrong To Love You
7. Waiting For My Lucky Day
8. Yellow Bird
9. Two Hearts
10. Return To Me
11. Dancin'
12. Sweet Leilani
13. Think Of Tomorrow

Product Description


Chris Isaak's Baja Sessions was inspired by a surfing trip the singer took with his band to the Baja California section of Mexico. As the salt in their hair dried in the sun, the four musicians sat around with acoustic guitars and a small drum set, and played some tunes from Isaak's previous albums, some of his unrecorded originals, and some of his favourite old songs by the likes of Roy Orbison, Gene Autry, and Arthur Lyman. The quartet so enjoyed the laid-back, mostly acoustic, Spanish-tinged flavour of these holiday jams that when they got home to the Bay Area, they recreated them in the studio. Baja Sessions is like an Unplugged album, except the sun-drenched, south-of-the-border mood gives these remakes a far fresher twist than most such projects. --Geoffrey Himes

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"Wicked Game" & HEART SHAPED WORLD (1989) finally introduced Chris Isaak to the public, even if it was in fact 2 years after the fact. The sudden attention to his career led to his follow-up SAN FRANCISCO DAYS (1993) arriving 4 years after its predecessor. While it wasn't the blockbuster of "Wicked Game", it still proved Chris was a musician first & sex-symbol second. "Can't Do A Thing [To Stop Me]" even had Chris singing in a higher register he hadn't used prior. 1995's FOREVER BLUE continued the streak with hits like "Somebody's Cryin'", "Graduation Day" & "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" (another belated hit 4 years later thanks to EYES WIDE SHUT).
Shortly after FOREVER BLUE, Chris took his band on a vacation to the California coast of Baja, where along with surfing & catching the waves, they jammed a little bit. Playing old Chris Isaak songs, some covers & a few brand-new songs, the band went back into the studio after returning to the mainland to recapture the ambience on record. The result: 1996's BAJA SESSIONS.
As a Chris Isaak album, it's not quite a stunner, but when you get the idea that this was done more for fun than as business as usual, BAJA SESSIONS is quite a good time to begin with. It was the first album of Chris's that I bought & sure enough, it turned me from casual fan to connosseiur. Hopefully, it will do that for others as well.
Opening with three songs from Chris's overlooked 1985 debut SILVERTONE, "Pretty Girls Don't Cry", "Dancin'" & "Back On Your Side" are the best way to hear music from when Chris was a starving artist as opposed to the household name he was by the time he did BAJA SESSIONS. The fact that those were probably the three best songs on SILVERTONE only makes their success on BAJA SESSIONS even more surprising.
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Format: Audio CD
Isaac apparently produced this album in Mexico after completing his previous 'Forever Blue' , this in contrast is an upbeat romantic album and new fans will love it as much as old , and why ?
Simply because it exudes romance. Isaac is the messiah of cover tracks he pays homage to Roy Orbisons 'Only The Lonely' and Dean Martins 'Return to Me' is a beautifully crafted track that serenades you into a pit of romantic escapism. This album is reminiscent of 'San Francisco Days' and both are what i call 'beach albums' perfect for chilling out next to the sea with a tequila and bronzed babes playing bat n ball (badly).
Its also a very consistent album and has the theme tune 'Two Hearts' which was chosen as the track for Tarantinos 'True Romance' he has covered dozens of movies and i wonder how many people have heard and loved Chris Isaac music without realizing who the hell he is.
Hers a tip for you Isaac fans , in the same year he released 2 tracks similar to the ones on this album , so check out his 2 songs on the Kevin Costner film soundtrack 'Perfect World'. ****BAJA SESSIONS IS A MUST FOR ANYONE WHO WHO HAS COOL TASTE , ITS MODERN MIXED WITH OLD IN THE STYLE OF ELVIS / ROY ORBISON.
can you believe Isaacs 46 years old ,Orbison would be proud of his prodigal son.
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Format: Audio CD
Think of this as "Unplugged In Mexico." Or a self-indulgent detour into bad taste. However you look at it, Baja Sessions certainly isn't your typical Isaak release. There's no intensely dramatic numbers like "Wicked Game" or much that rocks along the lines of "Somebody's Crying" and "Go Walking Down There." Also gone for the most part are the somber "woe is me" themes of previous Isaak albums.
Instead, Baja Sessions strives to create an upbeat and mellow musical mood with a distinct Mexican flavor. For starters, Isaak reworks some of his favorite early recordings like "Wrong To Love You," "Dancin'" and "Pretty Girls Don't Cry" which adhere closely to the originals, albeit somewhat stripped down. All of these remakes are fine, but they suffer without the usual uptempo Isaak material surrounding them.
Where the leisure suit-like taste shows up is in Isaak's choice of covers. "Sweet Leilani," "South of the Border," and "Yellow Bird" are about as cheesey as popular music gets. If you have the audacity to record music in the '90s that was popularized previously by the likes of Gene Autry and Lawrence Welk, you had better do something drastic with the arrangements. Instead, Isaak remains faithful to the originals and appears to be making a bid for a lounge act in Vegas.
Which is a shame, since Isaak shows on the final number "Think Of Tomorrow" (one of only three new songs on this album) that he can still rock with the best of them when he wants to. "Think" also provides a much needed wakeup call after twelve mild numbers offering little variation. If your idea of a romantic evening is watching reruns of the Love Boat on TV, then this is the album you've been waiting for. Otherwise, skip this "side project" and stick to the rest of Isaak's first-rate catalog.
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Format: Audio CD
Clocking in at only 39 minutes, and recorded in "Baja" San Francisco, this is more a placeholder than a true followup to last year's Forever Blue. Included among the thirteen tracks are reworkings of cuts from Isaak's 1985 LP Silvertone, including "Pretty Girls Don't Cry" "Back On Your Side" and "Dancin'", a cover of 1989's "Wrong to Love You," and a new version of 1993's "Two Hearts." Also included is a rendering of Roy Orbison's signature tune, "Only the Lonely," featuring what seems to be the C&H Sugar jingle used as a guitar riff. Rounding out the covers are the chestnuts "South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)" "Yellow Bird" and "Sweet Leilani." In total, Isaak adds only four new titles to this LP.
What's Isaak's motivation for covering Isaak? Apparently a desire to apply his signature sound to compositions recorded before his penmanship was so refined. The double tracked vocals of earlier versions have been replaced by the fuller, more confessional stylings of Chris Isaak circa 1996. The production is stripped of mid-80s gloss and given Isaak's now characteristic sound: sparse arrangements with a bass-heavy balance and crystalline guitars that compliment Isaak's languorous vocals. Given the explosive popularity of 1989's Heart Shaped World, the reworked songs provide a fan-friendly introduction to some of Isaak's earlier material.
More of an Isaak-snack than a full meal. But it's a tasty snack.
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