Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Remembering Wes from a man who knew him well...
songlife | Dayton, OH | 08/21/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's a pleasant listen, nothing bad about this at all, nothing too exciting either (except for one song - a masterpiece, more below), but it's all enjoyable and tasteful. It's a trio sound, instruments panned far left, center, and far right. It's a way of mixing that sounds a little too empty for my taste, but maybe that's how they wanted it. Rhyne is not a particularly exciting organ player, but that's fine - what he did years ago with Wes was enough to get me to buy his music any time, and he does have a great talent for ballads, much like Johnny Hammond Smith did (although Johnny played ballads with much more histrionics and dramatic drawbar settings.) What I liked about this CD was the song selection and the guitar player, Royce Campbell. In fact, Royce wrote the best tune on the album, the title track. It's an exquisitely rendered ballad, highly melodic and very heartfelt. I can't say enough about this track, it's worth the price of the CD! So rarely do you hear a ballad perfectly written and played. Usually there's an awkward bridge, or too-flashy playing, that spoils it. But in this case, Royce sticks to his gorgeous melody and comes up with some marvelous soloing - it was almost as if Wes had come back to play with Mel again. That tune is the second best tribute song for Wes that I've ever heard; the best being George Benson's 'I Remember Wes' from his "Goodies" album. That's my favorite Benson song, a stunningly beautiful guitar melody, and should have won the award for best instrumental that year if the world was right. No one will ever top it, balladwise - it has that very rare, unique magic in it that makes it timeless. I have to hear Royce's comparable song a few more times, but it might have that magic too. I fell in love with it. As for the rest of the album: the other songs are solid, except for 'Caribe' which sounded very flat compared to what Wes did with it. And I certainly agree with the reviewer below who appreciated Mel's bass lines - they're quite clear and well-played, and he also has a wonderful, classic sound for his organ, with the mega keyclicks and all. But above all, it's Campbell who shines on this album - he's a very clean player with a soft, unobtrusive tone and above average creativity. He doesn't try to emulate Wes, which was smart thinking on his part - although he wasn't afraid to play a lot of octaves, either. And he seems to be a VERY good writer, too! I enjoyed the interaction between him and Mel, and since many of these tunes were written by Wes (and played on originally by Mel), it's hard to go wrong. One problem: the drummer, particularly his cymbals, are poorly recorded. He might not have been the best choice for the date anyway: although he seems well-rehearsed, his playing is often flat and uninspiring. When you hear the original Wes recordings, he usually had outstanding drummers who really fired up a tune, but this guy seems to be there just to keep the time. Aside from that, I recommend not only this album, but anything Mel Rhyne has done or will do. He's a guy that few have heard of, but he has his own little place in history and he has very good taste in music. Buy his albums and support him so this music can live on - it's a dying art, tragically."