David A. Beamer | Clawson, MI United States | 04/28/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If one listens to Mcferrin's early Blue Note recordings (e.g. The Voice), and then just fast-forwards to "Circlesongs", one might say, "Wha... What happened? Why is this so different?". The answer can be found here. Most of McFerrin's work in the 1980s was fairly commercial and "accessible". "Medicine Music" shows some hints of where McFerrin would be heading in the 90s.The "80s Bobby" can be found in "Baby", "Yes, You", and "Gima", among others. The "90s Bobby" can be found in "Common Threads", "He Ran All the Way", and "Soma So del la de Sase", for example. These latter songs tend toward the wordless abstract note-play of which "Circlesongs" might be called the destination. "Common Threads", for example, uses two syllables, "nah" and "yeah", plus humming and open vowels. In contrast, "The Garden" is a quasi-retelling of the Garden of Eden story, but with McFerrin's own twist, with lines such as "there in the tree there crawled a Lie".On this recording more than any other to date, Bobby does not hide his Christianity. The last track "23rd Psalm", is even available in choral sheet music for church choirs, although some churches may be a bit off-put by Bobby's twist of referring to the Lord as female throughout. (The notes say the song is a tribute to his own mother.) And to complete the family, his father, Robert McFerrin Sr., puts in a guest appearance in "Discipline". The elder McFerrin is respected opera singer.All in all, this is an interesting, varied, and pivotal work in Bobby's output. The only reason I marked it with 4 stars instead of 5 is that I prefer his recordings where there's only one copy of his voice ("The Voice", "Spontaneous Inventions") -- this recording is multi-tracked "lots of Bobbys"."
Arguably McFerrin's Best (at least his most diverse)
boy_howdy | Northfield, MA United States | 11/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although a few of these songs are longer than they need to be, most notably the 6:14 track "The Train," this is a pretty solid album which contains some of the absolute best of Bobby McFerrin. It is VERY diverse, running from pop songs like "Baby" (it is worth remembering that this album immediately followed the soaring media success of "Don't Worry, Be Happy") to the stunning, most-powerful-song-ever-in-the-history-of-music final track, a feminized version of the 23rd psalm with Bobby singing something like 12 distinct tracks in layers of sound. Along the way we get to hear Bobby's Voicestra provide depth and volume for tracks "Sweet in the Morning" and, with the addition of McFerrin Senior's strong Basso, the powerful "Discipline." If you want a McFerring album that is more consistent but less strong in each track, try his "Best of" CD or perhaps go for his classical move "Hush" with Yo Yo Ma; if you want the gems, go for this one."
Magnificent music to heal your soul
P. Christie | Australia | 06/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This for me is Bobby McFerrin's masterpiece. Using mainly just his voice, he has created an album of songs which taken together celebrate all that is human and all that is holy. And especially the beauty of the human voice. "Sweet in the Morning" is a superb collaboration with the Voicestra. I especially love "Yes, You", "The Garden", "Angry (Gima)", and "Soma So De La De Sase". As for the 23rd Psalm, it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.God bless Bobby. I've loved his more recent works, including the wonderful "Beyond Words". "Bang Zoom!" is also a superb album. Medicine Music always moves me, and remains my favourite work of his. In fact, if I could only have one album in the entire world, this would be it!"
Moves Me to the Core
P. Christie | 03/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 12th track --- "The 23rd Psalm (Dedicated to My Mother) is worth the price of this CD. It's a musical prayer unlike any other. I also love "Common Threads" (5th track) and "Sweet in the Mornin'" (6th track)."
R. Hauser | Olympia, WA USA | 01/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Not the type of CD that makes me stop what I'm doing and listen, but the sort that invokes that comfortable "at peace" feeling. It's more "produced" that other McFerrin CD's that I've heard, but very well done. If you like what Bobby McFerrin has done in the past, I'm sure you'll appreciate this work.
I purchased it to study his treatment of the 23rd Psalm which is first rate work.
Recorded at Skywalker Ranch so the sound quality is sterling - a real treat to listen to."