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.
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.