Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
An artist worth rediscovering
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Christopher Cross's latest album "Walking in Avalon" continues the growth of this vastly underated artist. The first part of the CD set comprises all new songs (not yet in the Cross live set for those of you fortunate to hear him on tour) while CD #2 is a 74 minute live concert recorded earlier this year in California. Chris has always suffered from the label of "one hit wonder", though for those of us who have followed his career are well aware that he has continued to release seamless pop records; each one had more than a few standout tracks many of which are featured on the live set, including "Swept away" "Every turn of the world" "Alibi" and the opening "Rendevous" from an album not even given a release over here in the US. Christopher's voice is an unique instrument in its own right and so it is featured on the closing track of CD1 "Rainy day in Vancouver" an atmospheric instrumental which is great to put on repeat play on your CD player! The standout tracks for me on first disc are the title track, "Walking in Avalon"- a mature snapshot of a relationship that leaves something to the imagination but is great backdrop for a romantic evening with the wife- by the way it bombed as the first single (due to nil promotion and little air play) and the dreamy, 'haiku' influenced "Dream too loud" but every track in my book is a winner. This show is well worth the price of admission. I just hope that DJ's and the promotion people won't bypass this gem. Don't you bypass it either. Go buy and then enjoy!"
Good New Material on Studio Album - Live Stuff Disappoints
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 09/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Christopher Cross' career got off to an incredible start with his self-titled debut album. After that, he had a moderate follow-up with "Another Page", but it didn't match the success of his first album. Following that, Cross really struggled to have another major hit in the U.S. In 1998, Christopher Cross took somewhat of a risk by putting out the double CD "Walking in Avalon". The reason this was a risk was because he hadn't had commercial success for a long time, and now asking consumers to invest in a double CD might not be that enticing. Despite the risk, "Walking in Avalon" was a well promoted collection of two distinct discs. The first disc is the 'Walking on Avalon' studio album and the second disc is a live concert recorded in Santa Ana at the Galaxy Theatre in March, 1998. Since these are two distinct discs, let's look at each one individually.
The studio disc of "Walking in Avalon" isn't bad. I think some this might be some of the best work that Cross has done in a long time. He doesn't match the success for is his self-title debut album, but there is some solid work on this album. From a songwriting standpoint, this is solid material. There are 10 tracks on this disc, but the best tracks are the last four. Overall, the best track is a duet that Cross does with Gigi Worth on the 7th track called "I Know You Well". I don't think I would be out of line by saying this is the best song Cross has written and performed in over 10 years. I've always found that Cross has done his best works in duets. Whether its "Ride Like the Wind" and "I Really Don't Know Anymore" (with Michael McDonald from his self-titled debut album) , "Say You Won't Be Mine" (with Nicolette Larson also from his debut album), or "Open Up My Window" (with Gigi Worth from his "Window" album), Cross has been one of the best artists to have in a duet. This song is no exception as Cross and Worth perform a terrific tune about a love tug of war. Both Cross and Worth have some great chemistry together and hopefully will continue to do songs.
Also in the last group of 4 songs is the 8th track "Kind of I Love You". This is a quicker tempo song that is very catchy and is very enjoyable to listen to - especially the chorus. The 9th track is "Curled Around the World". This song is a ballad with Cross delivering some outstanding vocals on this track - some of the best he has had in years. The 10th track is a near instrumental (light vocal overtones) called "Rainy Day in Vancouver". The opening notes almost sound like "Dust in the Wind", but goes into a terrific new-age type instrumental.
Other songs worth noting are the opening song is "In a Red Room". This song took me a little bid to get into, but after a few listens I came to appreciate this song. The title song "Walking in Avalon" is also a solid track.
Some of the material on the second CD was released on a CD called "Christopher Cross: Greatest Hits Live". That particular release was actually a subset of what is contained on this collection. The biggest problem with "Greatest Hits Live" is they shuffled the order of the songs from the actual performance in Santa Ana. On that CD, there is a complete lack of continuity and it really affected listening to the music. The nice thing on "Walking in Avalon" is that the concert is delivered on the disc in the order in which it was sung in Santa Ana. While "Greatest Hits Live" struggled to show the connection with the audience, this disc will establish the connection with the audience very quickly. Cross even jokes at one point when he introduces the song "Open Up My Window" by saying 'all 12 of you that bought it" (referring to the fact that the album didn't sell very well). The songs included on the live disc do a nice job at traversing Cross' near 20 year career. I have high expectations for a live Christopher Cross performance. While Cross does a nice job on this performance, but he doesn't hit the "homerun" I would have expected from a Cross live performance.
Christopher Cross and Gigi Worth are once again a highlight as they deliver a live version of "Open Up My Window" which will steal the show. Also solid are "Every Turn of the World", "Sailing", "Alibi", "Deputy Dan", and "Rendezvous".
I had always wanted to hear a live version of one of my favorite Cross tunes - "Minstrel Gigolo". Cross delivers much more of an 'unplugged' acoustic version that is shorter than the studio version. This disappoints me somewhat because the acoustic version doesn't do the studio version justice. Also letting me down is the live version of "Ride Like the Wind". This song does include special guest vocalist Michael McDonald, but the duo doesn't capture the intensity of the original song. I would have also liked to have seen the duo peform "I Really Don't Know Anymore" as well. Another song that is a letdown is the live version of "Think of Laura".
The liner notes contain all of the lyrics and credits for the studio songs on this collection. The live tracks do not have the lyrics included. The cover has a beautiful design of Times Square blended with a pier. Despite some of the shortcomings with the live CD, this is still a solid collection. It definitely is some of the best new material Cross has done in years and the live disc is better than "Greatest Hits Live". I'd recommend getting this."
Fantastic, well-crafted melodic pop! And on HDCD to boot!
L.A. Scene | 12/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This double CD is fantastic! The live disc is a sonic wonder and treat due to the wonderful technology known as HDCD (go to hdcd.com to read about it). HDCD is definitely 'the real deal', adding extra resolution, soundstage, and better dynamics to the music!!The studio portion of 'Avalon', all new material, is just stellar, smooth easy listening pop music at its best. Cross is very very talented and at the top of his game with this very underrated release, and these compositions are pure ear-candy in sonic and compositional quality. Most pop music is merely fleeting in impression... this is one beautiful and memorable CD that just flows with hooks and lush melodies... and totally exhudes quality and emotion! One song in particular, titled "Curled Around The World", to me, is probably the BEST easy-listening pop song to come along in a long time! Listen to this one on a good system with an open mind, and it will grow on you very quickly, even if you don't consider yourself a fan of CC. 'Avalon' will change your mind! It did mine!"