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Stage Left

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 25 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Favored Nations Entertainment
  • ASIN: B0006PV61G
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,814 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD
For those who enjoy instrumental guitar albums, this album deserves a place in their collections. I can't quite give it five stars because Barre has indeed assembled a delectable assortment of riffs and tonal variations which will make the listener nod in appreciation - however, riffs and killer tones cannot in themselves assure great songs. However, the excellence of so many other things makes the CD warrant four stars. The recording is great, the afore-mentioned variety of sounds (acoustic and electric) is superb, and Barre has pulled out all stops to offer a little bit of everything. Does it always work? Not in my opinion . . . but when it does, the results are excellent. "Spanish Tears" features a beautiful interplay between steel-string Latin romance and Satriani-like electric chops that come together perfectly. "Murphy's Paw" has some great riffs, and "Favourite Things" features the very thing that I think is missing in some of the other fusion experiments - strong melody. The guy's playing cannot be faulted - he has not allowed himself to be confined to the Tull sound alone; neither has he remained in a 70's guitar stagnation. He weaves comfortably around a musical tapestry of acoustic beauty and electric vitality while delighting the listener with touches of classical and jazz influences in addition to the blues-based rock playing that he so humbly claims as his primary forte. I guess the only thing that keeps me from giving the CD five stars is that, though every song has superb playing, the tasty licks and modal phrases sometimes crowd out the melodic aspect which I think is Barre's real strength. There's even a Tull-like rocker in here called "Don't Say a Word" which neatly finishes the album as a pleasantly unexpected vocal offering. Jethro Tull fan or not (which I am, by the way), you'll find way more to like about this album than not.
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By A Customer on June 24 2004
Format: Audio CD
Long ago I gave up buying albums by guitarists. But hearing two tracks from this album - "Count the Chickens," a concise, energetic rocker, and "Winter Snowscapes," a beautiful, melodic piece - convinced me to give it a go. And I was not disappointed. Barre consistently delivers melodic compositions with emotional content. He's not just playing to prove he can. The songs are quite varied stylistically, including rock, classical, and jazz influences, but Barre puts a unique touch on each one. The supporting players deserve credit, too. Two of Barre's Jethro Tull bandmates play on this album: Jonathan Noyce, bass, and Andrew Giddings, keyboards (but it really doesn't sound like a Jethro Tull album). Noyce's bass work deserves special mention. He has referred to himself as a "stealth" bass player, and that's well represented on this album. It's the kind of bass playing that you're rarely conscious of, unless you listen for it, but if it's taken out, you miss it.
Barre has delivered a terrific CD, not to be missed.
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By Shill on Sept. 16 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is a great album, and after several listens two things are made abundantly clear. Martin Barre is such an integral part of the Jethro Tull sound. And the fact that he was not listed among "Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Guitarists" further confirms what a bogus institution it has become.
Barre is a master craftsman and all the songs are structured and arranged with an ear for melody and a good hook or two to boot. One is often fatigued after listening to most solo guitarists with their non-stop-over-the-top noodling and screechy pyrotechnics. Not so with this album.
Some stand outs: "A French Correction" starts out with a jaunty guitar run that would appeal to any "Gentle Giant" fan.
"After You, After Me" opens with a blues procession and an Indian tom tom beat in the back. After a little acoustical change-up at 1:57 Martin unleashes a multi-layered blistering attack. Go Martin. Ah, but this is all short lived as he goes into another mood change before reprising the rocking section a little later. Martin is too much the gentleman.
There is a song to fit any style and mood with a wide variety of guitars utilized throughout, but Barre is no show off. There is a consistent attitude running through the whole disc which makes this his first solo album with a more solid production and unified vision.
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Format: Audio CD
OK, I admit that I'm possibly a little biased....I'm a huge fan of Jethro Tull and have loved Martin Barre's playing for all of his 30 (plus)year tenure as guitarist-in-chief for the band. So, after a career with that kind of depth, what does somebody who has that kind of recognizable musical history do for an encore?
This album, that's what.
This recording, largely instrumental, is just tucked full of great texture, from the many sublime acoustical works to heavier, creatively substantive electric offerings; This is a delightful collection of songs from a guitarist who, in spite of his laid back public persona, has remained an admired trend setter in popular music. The album, entitled Stage Left, features 14 songs recorded on 14 different guitars, resulting in a fresh, varied, and interesting sound for each track. Getting this chance to hear the author, a respected player, record some of the world's most wonderful guitars should put any sound engineer or critical listener into a sonic heaven!
But the real joy of this work is the compositional depth. The songs, because of the largely instrumental nature of this work...(there is only one vocal tune)..... are allowed to travel in directions that suggest the author's love for classical music and melodies. Mr. Barre does not rely upon the Tull legacy for his depth, but rather has managed to clearly stake his own territory in this work. One is, of course, occasionally reminded of the great Tull guitar sound, but only because the player is, in fact, responsible for that area of the Tull legacy. On first listening I was impressed with the variety of composition; on repeated listening I can happily say that I'm falling in love with the musical ideas flowing through this work.
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