Jon Anderson - In The City Of Angels (1988) / The More You Know (1998)

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Jon Anderson - In The City Of Angels (1988) / The More You Know (1998)

Post by Musicgate on Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:07 am

Jon Anderson - In The City Of Angels (1988)

Review by daveconn (Dave Connolly) - PROG REVIEWER
Jon ANDERSON recorded this album in Los Angeles and Hollywood, thus the title and the presence of familiar L.A. session musicians. Much of the material is cowritten with others (Don Freeman, David Paich), including two tracks cowritten with Motown legend Lamont Dozier. The music, which matches immaculate production and trite arrangements with Jon's spiritual sensibilities, feels like a lost Disney soundtrack much of the time. There are a few likeable tracks on here, such as the charming "f It Wasn't for Love'' and the energetic "New Civilization", but for every step forward the album takes a step back. A couple of these songs did get better treatment on the orchestral Change We Must, notably "Hurry Home (Song from the Pleiades)" and "It's on Fire". The better moments are those that sound most like Jon, whether the wordy but intelligent "Sundancing (for the Hopi/Navajo Energy)" or the simple "For You." The problem with "In the City of Angels" is the perceived portability of Jon ANDERSON's voice; he's more than a vocalist in search of a setting. It's true that he catered to a more commercial audience on Big Generator, and tracks like "Top of the World (The Glass Bead Game)" are in line with that album's offerings, but there's a world of difference between what you'll tolerate from Alan White versus a Jeff Porcaro. Jon rises above his surroundings half of the time, but "In the City of Angels" still raises the question of what he was doing there in the first place.

Review by Guillermo (Guillermo Vazquez) - PROG REVIEWER
I have a tour book from YES` "Union" tour. In the "History of YES" notes, the writer of these notes wrote that Anderson "recorded three albums in L.A., but he was tired of that scene, and he went to Greece to work with Vangelis and then he returned to England to form ABWH". This "In the City of Angels" album was released in May 1988, after the YES`"Big Generator" tour was finished. It seems that Anderson left YES then, but I was surprised that Anderson released then this Pop Rock album, because it seems that he left YES because he wasn`t happy with the musical direction (Rock Pop) that YES`albums with Trevor Rabin had. So, I can`t understand why he singed then with a more commercial record label and he recorded this commercial album with them.
Anyway, this album is well produced and recorded with fine musicians like the musicians from the band Toto and other very good session musicians. The sound and style of the album is mostly very '80s, with keyboard sounds which I previously heard in albums by bands like STYX and particularly in some hits by STYX former lead singer / keyboard player Dennis DeYoung (particularly in a song called "This is the Time"). The song "Hold On to Love" is very good, in Rock Pop terms, with very good arrangements and playing. This song in particular was composed with Lamont Dozier, who with the Holland brothers previously composed songs for Motown artists like The Supremes in the Sixties. It is curious that Dozier was also working in 1988 with Phil Collins, co-writting songs for Collins`album sountrack for the film "Buster", on which Collins had the main character of the film. Anderson also made a promotional videoclip for "Hold On to Love" on which Chris Squire appears playing the contrabass in a video with an image design with the musicians and backing female singers dressed in the 1930-1940`s fashion, with Anderson dancing and singing with a hat like in the musical "A Chorus Line" and also playing a vibraphone! The rest of the songs are a mix of Pop Rock songs with some "New Age" music influences.
In conclusion, a very well produced Pop Rock album which was a bit in contradiction with Anderson`s reasons to leave YES in 1988 because he was tired of the Pop Rock musical direction of the band which was mostly influenced then by Trevor Rabin.

Review by William Ruhlmann (AMG)
In 1988, Anderson quit Yes for the second time and released his first regular solo album in six years, In The City Of Angels. Stewart Levine, best known for his work with Culture Club, was brought in to produce; Anderson worked with a team of L.A. session stars and wrote a couple of songs with ex-Motown ace Lamont Dozier. All of this seemed to portend a more commercial-sounding, straightahead pop effort from the usually ethereal Anderson. The result is about half and half: when writing with Dozier, Anderson expresses conventional romantic sentiments, for which he doesn't really have a feel. His tenor is so chaste and angelic, it's hard for him to be believable on earthly love songs. And soon enough, especially on later tracks, Anderson is once again in spiritual outer space, where he seems most comfortable. The compromise, however, did not appeal to fans, who avoided this album.

Tracks info:
1. Hold on to love (4:46)
2. If it wasn't for love (Oneness Family) (4:26)
3. Sundancing (For the Hopi/Navajo Energy) (3:16)
4. Is it me (4:22)
5. In a lifetime (4:13)
6. For you (2:51)
7. New civilization (4:31)
8. It's on fire (4:11)
9. Betcha (4:01)
10. Top of the world (The glass bead games) (5:26)
11. Hurry home (song from the pleiades) (4:59)

Personel info:

Jon Anderson / vocals
Jeff Porcaro / drums
Mike Porcaro / bass
David Paich / keyboard
Dann Huff / guitar
Michael Landau / guitar
Jon Robinson / drums
Larry Williams / keyboard
Lenny Castro / percussion
Marc Russo / saxophone

Source: Render's collection
Ripped: Musicgate

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Jon Anderson - The More You Know (1998)

Post by Musicgate on Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:08 am

daveconn (
Change he must, and yet the more things change, the more this album of contemporary pop/worldbeat stays within the unpredictable expectations of a Jon ANDERSON album. I didn't blink an eye when the sounds of drums n' bass took their place alongside that familiar voice as if they naturally belonged there. Approaching a Jon ANDERSON album is a dangerous business, so you need to be ready for anything. What I wasn't ready for were two songs that would get under my skin so quickly: "Heaven's Love" and "Take, Take, Take". The former reminds me of "Hearts," the latter could be seen as a cross between "We Have Heaven" and Peter GABRIEL's "Kiss That Frog". For these two tracks alone, ANDERSON's fans should considering picking up this disc.

What remains is not filler; pleasant melodies from Jon are fleshed out by Francis and Bobby Jocky, a little guitar from Jeff Kellner, and the backing vocals of wife Jane Luttenberger Anderson. Despite the lean production (penny pinching purple pyramids prevail), the core quartet do a tremendous job of filling in the arrangements and giving them a suitably grand sound. Listen to "Magic Love", "Faithfully", "Youth" or "The More You Know" and tell me how many musicians you hear (you'll guess more than four). The only knock I have on "The More You Know" is that less might have been more. This infernal CD medium still has everyone struggling to come up with sixty minutes of music, which is just too hard when you're writing four-minute pop songs. Past the midway point, the engaging becomes merely interesting, or (in the efficacious invention of a new word) IntraYesSting, which is to say somewhere between Jon ANDERSON and STING. I don't mean that as an insult (I understand that some folks are highly allergic to STING's music), merely an indication that both artists lack strong self-editing skills.

In Jon's case, he serves as a channel for his muse, so editing is antithetical to his role as a conduit. But where to edit? Maybe "Some TV" and "Ever" could have stayed at home, but cutting anything else might slight a song that resonates with someone. If you enjoyed the anglo/afropop of Paul SIMON and Peter GABRIEL, "The More You Know" could be heard as a modest and more beat-oriented sibling. The goal here isn't authenticity but inspiration (and economy), and this disc scores often on those points. As one of Jon ANDERSON's more straightforward pop albums, this would fall slightly below "Song of Seven" and rise above "In The City of Angels".

Stephen Thomas Erlewine (AMG)
In one sense, it's heartening that Jon Anderson has decided to explore music far outside the confines of Yes on his solo albums -- and it would have been even better if the album actually worked. On 1994's Deseo, he delved into Latin music, and he returns to that territory on The More You Know, adding elements of worldbeat and smooth soul to the mix. Coming from Anderson, it's a bit of a surprise, albeit a welcome one, and for a few songs, the entire enterprise sounds quite promising. By the end of the disc, it almost collapses under its own weight, since Anderson relies more on sound than songs. Still, the very fact that he's trying something new is quite exciting, and the handful of songs that work make The More You Know worth a listen from hardcore fans. [The CD was also released with a bonus track.]

Tracks info:

1. Magic Love (3:48)
2. Maybe (4:06)
3. Say Jocky (3:51)
4. The More You Know (3:48)
5. Heaven's Love (4:17)
6. Faithfully (4:09)
7. Take, Take, Take (4:02)
8. Gimme Love (4:15)
9. Dancing Fool (3:52)
10. Sad (3:49)
11. Ever (4:02)
12. Free (Some Would Say) (3:25)
13. Some TV (3:21)
14. Youth (3:30)
Total Time: 54:15

Personel info:

- Jon Anderson / vocals
- Jane Luttenberger Anderson / vocals
- Francis Jocky / vocals, keyboards
- Bobby Jocky / bass, keyboards

Releases info:

2001 CD Big Eye 4043
1998 CD Cleopatra 245
2002 CD Import 41018
2001 CD Big Eye 4043
2002 CD Import 41018

Source: My collection
Ripped by: Musicgate
Included: FLACS, LOG, CUE, TAU, Info - 423 mb
Rip validating: EAC ripped, correct, test&copy mode
Covers: Full Artworks provided - 59 mb


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