Sensual Kenny: classy elegance
pava | Independence, MO USA | 05/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The negative review below made me want to set the record straight. I've loved Kenny Rankin's music since seeing him in the late '60s / early '70s on Johnny Carson, putting Helen Reddy's version of "Peaceful" to shame with his truly peaceful rendition, and enrapturing us all with "Stringman." I inhaled the first two albums I found, "Like a Seed" and "Inside," went orgasmic when "Silver Morning" came out (why isn't it offered here???), and wrote but chickened out sending my only fan letter when "Kenny Rankin Album" was released, the quintessential Kenny. It was more than 15 years before I found a new recording, and I've snatched up every new issue since (except from the overseas CD pirates -- Kenny, darlin', if you own all the rights, why don't you reissue your own CD locally?).
As to the comment below that Kenny is great and doesn't need any help from highly orchestrated arrangements, I agree. However, Kenny is SO great, the more elaborate settings are like a velvet box for a diamond. Kenny's talent showcases equally well whether a cappella, with solo guitar or piano, with his preteen children (as in Roll Around on "Inside"), or with a 60-piece ensemble.
Everything on this CD is good, and I was delighted to hear what Kenny did with Edward MacDowell's semi-classical composition, "To a Wild Rose," written in 1896. My rating of only 4 stars is because of the eclectic mix, with vintage 1-a.m.-at-the-lounge licks (like "Strings") side by side with the sassy "One More Goodbye, One More Hello" and curious string section teasers for the Wild Rose finale. The order of these tracks seems disjointed and without logical flow, but each selection has merit on its own and has Kenny's unmistakable, smooth musical signature all over it.
That said, only diehard Rankin fans like myself will want to shell out the gouging prices currently listed for this now-rare release. The track samplings available here are typical of each song, so if you like what you hear, you'll be happy with the rest."
Mr. Rankin has passed - left us treasures like this one.
shb | Orlando, FL | 06/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I forget how I came to acquire this album, but oh, I'm glad I did. Yes, it's more "produced" and orchestral than others, but take it for what it is. And that is one darn fine collection of music.
I learned yesterday that lung cancer diagnosed only weeks ago has taken his life and I am deeply saddened. Fortunate that I got to see him in concert twice and get autographs both times - he signed this album for me. He gave a concert in a smoky little jazz club in Downtown Orlando (this was back when you could smoke indoors). As he signed my album, I remember asking how he could sing in such a smoky atmosphere. I shudder to think that events like that may have led to his unexpected death.
Last night I paid my own little homage, playing several albums of his and rediscovering what I've long known but seldom think about. I promise not to let my collection of his CDs gather dust anymore. "Peaceful" is a particularly poignant album now."