"Rit" part II
Olukayode Balogun | Leeds, England | 07/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lee Ritenour didn't seem to shy away from the fact that this 1982 follow on from Rit was based on the same template as its predecessor. Indeed, you only have to look at the title of the album and the interesting cover artwork to get the message. There aren't so many personnel on board this time round though and the album is performed by "The Lee Ritenour Band" with Ritenour himself on electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass & guitar synthesizers and OBX drums, Eric Tagg again on lead vocals and keyboards, Harvey Mason on drums, percussion & rhythm arrangements, Don Grusin on keyboards and Nathan East on bass. (What we have here in fact, is three quarters of what was later to become known as Fourplay). Trumpeter and flugelhorn man Jerry Hey also returns to take care of string and horn arrangements on most of the songs.
The songs also take the same format and running order, more or less. Thus, the album opens with two pop vocal tunes just like its predecessor did and "Dreamwalkin'" & "Keep It Alive" sound very similar, in terms of tempo and vibe, to "No Sympathy" & "Is It You?", for instance, and on and on it goes.
I have no complaints though. For one, I enjoyed "Rit" so much the idea of a "Rit" part II was a very welcome one at the time. Besides, the new tracks while (maybe) written on a similar template are original and fresh enough to survive on their own merits. That said, I do have more love for the instrumental tracks here than I do for the vocal ones. (On "Rit" it was a pretty equal love for both). My favourites are "A Fantasy" (with the way it fades in, all thumping bass & drums, wailing guitars & synthesizers), "On The Boardwalk", "Road Runner" and "Malibu" (with strings arranged by Johnny Mandel), a tune I used to feel haunted by for years after I first heard it for some reason - but haunted in a good way. I also like "Tied Up" quite a lot.
This is another 5 star golden oldie that doesn't waste any time. At 40mins and 9secs, it's slightly longer than "Rit" but it's still a quickie by today's standards. The music is so good though, I tend not to notice.
But I do have one quibble: "On The Boardwalk" does not fade in like it does on my LP version, or indeed on the version I had on cassette before that. I always loved the way The Life Choir's vocals, singing "La-la, la-la," over and over, seemed to just creep up on me, as if from nowhere. On the CD, they just start. It's a minor irritant but an irritant nonetheless and it's for this reason that I've decided I'm going to hang on to my vinyl copy. It might be worth a lot of money one day anyway."
The Absolute Pinnacle of Smooth jazz/pop.rock music
E. Voorhies | United States | 05/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a 53 year disabled professional musician, specializing in electric guitar and vocals. My mother was an accomplished church pianist and I began singing solo gospel concerts in local churches when I was only 9 years old. In the last 42 years since then, I have been involved in all forms of the music industry...guitar, vocals, songwriting, arranging, recording, and selling, covering all types of music...rock, blues, country, southern gospel, black gospel, R@B, disco, and funk. I am listing my experience and credentials here for the sole purpose of giving the most amount of credibiliby to what I am about to write here.
Of all the music and albums I have ever owned, this CD, "Rit2" by Lee Rutenour, is my #1 all-time favorite over all areas of music. if it wasn't for the contributions of vocalist Eric Tagg, I wouldn't be saying this in such an emphatic way. As a musician I am very sensitive to taste, style and arrangement, and Lee Ritenour and Eric Tagg had a unique chemistry that helped complement each others already wonderful creative tastes in this type of music. Eric's performances on "Cross My Heart", "Promises, Promises", and "Tied Up" rival anything that Gino Vannelli has ever done, and I regard Gino with the utmost respect. (Please disregard the snobbish reference to Tied Up by Mr. McDowell in a previous review.) To me, these songs are the best recorded examples of good taste in vocal jazz/pop in recorded history.if this style of music appeals to you, then you need to buy these 3 Cds...."Rit", "Rit2", and "Portrait", all featuring Eric Tagg. As a producer and musical arranger, Lee Ritenour has proven to be a tasteful genius, and it never shows more strongly than on here. Before i forget it, the vocal contributions of Bill Champlin (current keyboardist for Chicago), really round this album off and push it over the top. He's my second favorite all-time singer, and he shines on here.
I just wish that there was video footage of this great partnership available on video or DVD. I found one MTV clip of Ritenout/Tagg of "Briefcase" (off the CD "Rit) on Youtube.com, and have found nothing else.
I hope this review has been helpful to you."
Tied Up Over Palms Springs
Iron Man Hondo | Chicago Il. | 05/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My fellow reviewer says that the song "Tied Up" was a wasted effort. I beg to differ. This is one album that I purchased while serving my country as a Marine. On a weekend from 29 Palms Marine Corps Base, I spent it in Palms Spring. While walking through downtown Palms Springs, "Tied Up" was the song that was playing on my boom box. This song seem to fit the atomosphere. Every time I play it, I go back to my mini vacation in Palms Springs. It had a California feel to me at least. Give it a try and see if it dosen't give you the feel that at least the Beach Boys would have made it. Lee's second effort wasn't as good as his first, but it was still a good album. "Promises, Promises" was another song on this album that was pretty good and worth a listening to. Overall this is not an album to pass up. Get it.
And to think, Lee was once a part of Barry Whites Love Unlimited Orchestra. No wonder he took off like he did."