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Best of Michael Franks: A Backward Glance Import


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 29 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Rhino / Wea
  • ASIN: B001BAWKIS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph Lee #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on May 28 2013
Format: Audio CD
INTRODUCTION:

Michael Franks was born on September 18, 1944 in La Jolla, South California. (Note: According to Yahoo, La Jolla is one of the best place to visit after a break-up!) A young Michael absorbed the literature of American standards by the greats: Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Johnny Mercer, plus the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole. At age 14, he spent $29.95 for a Japanese Marco Polo guitar. He studied English at UCLA. During that time, he was mesmerized by the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Miles Davis. In the late ‘60s, he relocated to Canada, where he opened shows for Gordon Lightfoot and worked briefly with the band Carnival, later Lighthouse. He cut his first self-titled record in 1973 for Brut Records. Then, he was signed by Warner Brothers. His first record on Reprise was The Art Of Tea (its title lifted from the book by Okakura) in 1975. His only charted hit was Popsicle Toes (43/1976). From 1973 to 2012, he has a total of 23 record releases (including compilation and greatest hits). Except the Dream box set in 2012, I have every Michael Franks CD.

Today Michael Franks lives with his wife Claudia in Woodstock. He is indeed the mystical, mellow messenger: the weaver of dreams. He is the wise and gentle poet placing passion fruit at the feet of the sleeping gypsy, transforming her mirages of amore into Tropic of Virgo moonlight she will cup in both hands.

CONTENT:

Michael Franks A Backward Glance (The Best of) was his 16th album release, his very last offering from Warner Brothers. When an artist has achieved success with a label, and this artist is leaving, the usual practice by the label to squeeze the very last dollar from us is to give us a Greatest Hits collection. Such is the case of this release.
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Format: Audio CD
If you haven't cottoned on to Michael Franks by now, it's time you wised up.
I heard "The Art of Tea" and "Sleeping Gypsy" at the one sitting in the late Seventies. I became an instant addict.
Eventually, my Michael Franks RECORD collection included every one of his albums. I'm now in the process of replacing the older ones with CDs.
I've only ever done that with a handful of discs (Pet Sounds, Sergeant Peppers, some Kenny Rankin stuff, and Miles' Quiet Nights ... oh yeah and Sinatra and Jobim)
Anyway, the Franks repertoire is cool, hip and sexy-smart. There's a hypnotic quality to the grooves - they seem familiar and you swear you've heard them somewhere else before. The lyrics are quirky, observational and intelligent - most of all intelligent.
Image Blossom Dearie a hundred years younger. If you love Blossom, you'll love Michael Franks.
If you've not traveled down the Franks road, then this greatest hits collection is a fair place to start.
But there's a danger here. Once sampled, you may find yourself on the right side of a Michael Franks' addiction.
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Format: Audio CD
This cd marks Michael's departure from Warner Brothers. Before saying goodbye to the label that helped his career get firmly established, he produced this excellent highlight of his catalog from Warner. This cd features at least one track from each of his albums. I feel this album makes a great index to his body of work, although Michael's singing style almost never varies, his albums each have their own theme completely seperate from the other with one exception, Michael's lyrical poetry prevails. Read the lyrics in the liner notes of the original albums, they make for a great read.
The mastering of this cd is beautifully sonically enhanced, it makes one wish all of Michael's cd's were this well mastered.
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Format: Audio CD
I am a real hater of smooth jazz; in the old days people who hated jazz hated it for it's shronk-fests (think John Coltrane's "Ascension"), but now the hardcore generation know not of jazz's fire and only of its snooze-fests thanks the popularity of smooth jazz.
So why would I give a smooth jazz artist a fairly good rating? The reason is that Franks does create pretty sleepy songs, but the point of his music, unlike many other smooth jazz musicians is to be interestingly lyrical. He doesn't have very cliched song ideas (who would sing about popsicle toes and tigers in the rain?) and that is what makes him memorable. Just like real jazz artists attempt to amaze the audience with their creative improvising, Franks marvels us with his witty and metaphore-rich lyrics. Isn't that what jazz is about, pushing the boundaries? Well done Franks, you have proved that a genre that is so often so boring can have true artists.
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Format: Audio CD
As one who purchased the Art of Tea on vinyl and have
followed his music over the decades, this CD is a
good representative mixture of Michael in all his moods.
warm and intimate........
From Popsicle Toes through Eggplant to Tiger in the Rain,
this is one CD that can be given to someone who has never
had the joy of listening to Michael's music.
this is the sort of stuff that can be listened to
on that wintry afternoon with a good glass of red
for company.
enjoy.
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Format: Audio CD
The above thought occurred to me when Como's passing coincided with a recent spell of Michael Franks listening on my part. My first impression of Franks was that, despite his skill at songwriting, he was a bit of a lightweight--I asked myself; "Who says jazz needs its own John Sebastian?" Anyone who has that initial reaction to Franks should do what I did--let him grow on you. It isn't an easy thing to do for rock fans, who are used to the first impression either hitting you or missing you by a mile--we're used to being figuratively smacked upside the head by our entertainers. But this album's a good start--the song you might already know is love song cum geography lesson "Popsicle Toes". Who can argue with the cleverness of a song that says the thing that turns you on the most about your lady is that she has cold feet? Which correspond of course to Tierra del Fuego? Franks' writing style is literate and tongue-in-cheek sexy and his talent for arranging shows the capacity to come up with whatever fits the song, rather than songs that all sound alike except for the lyrics and melody a la Barry Manilow. He can even come up with lyrics for another artist's tune (see "The Dream", based on the Yellowjackets' "Local Hero", found on his "Dragonfly Summer" as well as their live set). The singer-songwriter format is alive and well, and in Franks' case, better than ever. It's just that artists like him go more for staying power than short-term overhype.
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