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Best of Michael Franks: A Backward Glance Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 29 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Rhino
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
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Product Description

This crossover star mixed smooth jazz, soft rock and Latin flavors to the delight of fans from the '70s to the '90s and beyond. This anthology covers all those years, bringing you his 1976 pop hit Popsicle Toes plus Eggplant; Tiger in the Rain; Soul Mate; Island Life; Baseball; Hourglass , and more!

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Format: Audio CD

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.


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
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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By A Customer on Oct. 30 1998
Format: Audio CD
This compilation of "The Best Of Michael Franks", samples some of his best work from his 23 year body of work. It must have been an agonizing process in deciding which songs were to be included and which were to be left out (no "Living On The Inside","Down In Brazil", "Abandoned Garden", or "Rainy Night In Tokyo"? COME ON!). From "Posicle Toes", to "Tiger In The Rain", through "When I Give My Love To You" and finishing with "Hourglass", each song will conjure great feelings and familiar rythms of recent and distant memories. My only regret after listening to "The Best Of Franks", is that it was not produced as a live cd, where some new and possibly different nuances could have been added. An example of a different nuance of his work could be found in the song "3 today" from his "previously Unavailable" album, and how he subsequently performed "3 Today", at live concert at the Cellar Door in Washington, DC. In conclusion, the Jobim influences,his 1st class, all star studio musicians including Joe Sample, the Brecker Brothers, Larry Carlton, Jeff Lorber,Earl Klugh, and Bucky Pizzarelli,and of course Franks' unique vocal stylings make this cd a "must order", and a "must listen to" for any non- pretentious Jazz aficionado.
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