Sarah McLachlan – Fumbling Towards Ecstacy

Artist: Sarah McLachlan
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Pop
Title: Fumbling Towards Ecstacy
Original Released: 1993
Label: Arista
Format: CD
Musicians: Sarah McLachlan – Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Piano
Bill Dillon – Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Guitorgan, Bass, Piano
Pierre Marchand – Bass, Piano, Keyboards, Fake B-3 Organ, Drum Machine, Percussion Machine, 808, Shaker, Found Sound, Brian Minato – Bass, David Kershaw – Hammond Organ, Jane Scarpantoni – Cello, Michel Dubeau – Saxophone, Ashwin Sood – Drums, Percussion, Jerry Marotta – Drums, Percussion, Lou Shefano – Drums
Guy Nadon – Drums
Producer: Pierre Marchand
Recording Engineer: Pierre Marchand
Mixing Engineer: Pierre Marchand
Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy is the third studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan.

Most of the songs on this LP were written by Sarah McLachlan and Pierre Marchand.
Here is something I never thought I would write as Sarah McLachlan is one of my favorite artists, but unfortunately this album is a sonic disaster. The music on this album is excellent as expected from Sarah, but sonically, this LP falls all the way down the stairs and breaks its neck. It is heavily compressed and the sound stage is so narrow you can laser cut with it. The mix was sloppy on a few of the tracks such as on Track #3, “Plenty” samples are over-used here and there are several mixing mis-steps on the backing vocals and it sounds as though the mix was haphazardly stitched together in the channels. In Track #4, “Good Enough”, the drums are fantastic with the great drumming of Ashwin Sood, but they are too forward in the mix.
The thing to note though, that I want you to know is that live version of all of the songs on this album are the best of the best. I guess these songs were made to be performed live, because they are very good sonically performed live.

1. “Possession”
2. “Wait”
3. “Plenty”
4. “Good Enough”
5. “Mary”
6. “Elsewhere”
7. “Circle”
8. “Ice”
9. “Hold On”
10. “Ice Cream”
11. “Fear”
12. “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy”


James Taylor – One Man Dog

Artist: James Taylor

Title: One Man Dog
Released: 1972
Label: Warner Bros
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:James Taylor – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals, harmonica, autoharp, bells, cross-cut saw, Arthur Baron – bass trombone, George Bohanon – trombone
Michael Brecker – flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, Randy Brecker – trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, Dash Crofts – mandolin, Craig Doerge – piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Bobbye Hall – percussion, congas, bongos, tambourine, shaker, bells, Abigale Haness – backing vocals, Steven Edney – backing vocals, John Hartford – banjo, fiddle, Carole King – backing vocals, Danny Kortchmar – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, timbales, Russ Kunkel – drums, congas, tambourine, cabasa, John McLaughlin – acoustic guitar, Mark Paletier – sound effects, saw, Red Rhodes – pedal steel guitar, Barry Rogers – trombone, Linda Ronstadt – backing vocals, Carly Simon – backing vocals, Leland Sklar – bass, guitarron mexicano, Alex Taylor – backing vocals, Hugh Taylor – backing vocals, Kate Taylor – backing vocals

One Man Dog is the fourth studio album by singer-songwriter James Taylor. The basic tracks were primarily recorded in Taylor’s home studio, which happens to be shown on the back cover of the jacket. The album also happens to be on the green Warner Bros. label which, from a sound quality perspective, has not failed me.

The album is made up of 18 short pieces strung together.
Starting with the title track “One Man Parade”, this song with strength in sound, structure, lyrics, the works, has a cuban flavor with the percussion, which heightens the anticipation of a great LP. From wikipedia: Taylor said he had written “One Man Parade” during the year preceding the album release and he had begun playing it live in concert as early as the Fall of 1971. Like “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” “One Man Parade” was recorded on a portable recording console at Taylor’s home with his new bride Carly Simon in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Simon, Carole King and Abigale Haness provided harmony vocals. Russ Kunkel plays congas on the song, in a performance Taylor biographer Mark Robowsky describes as “trippy.”
“One Man Parade” was originally intended to be the title track of the album, but Taylor changed the album title “for no particular reason” to One Man Dog, in reference to his shepherd dog who is mentioned in the song.
We slip into the second track, titled “Nobody But You” in the trademark James Taylor style, then side one takes us to track three, which is a whimsical tune titled “Chili Dog”, featuring fantastic percussion as did the first track. This is also the start of a suite of short songs in this side featuring the same style of whimsy done smartly. The fifth and last track of this section on the LP aptly titled, “Instrumental 1” is an instrumental break.
Leaving this section of short tracks, we go back to the signature James Taylor sound on track six, “New Tune” followed by “Back On The Street Again” through the end of side one with the last track, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” being a minor hit.

Starting off side two of this LP, we again have one of James Taylor’s more upbeat, whimsical tunes (that seem to be all over this LP), titled, “Woh, Don’t You Know”. As with side one, side two has no less than 9 tracks of short songs tracking the same path as side one with another instrumental as well. Track two is titled, “One Morning In May”, which is a folk song which has been collected from traditional singers in England and the USA and has also been recorded by revival singers. Through the use of double-entendre, at least in the English versions, it tells of a sexual encounter between a grenadier (or soldier) and a lady. Lyrics have been traced to the late 17th or early 18th Century. There are a number of textual variants, and the song has many titles. The most frequent in the Roud Index are “The Nightingale”, “The Bold Grenadier”, and “One Morning in May”, in that order.
Track three is the second instrumental (and guess what it is called, yup). We slip into track four titled, “Someone” by John McLaughlin and with track five we enter the second short track suite starting with “Hymn” and ending with “Jig”.

In my opinion, while lacking in big hits, this is really one of James Taylor’s most enjoyable LPs and a true work of art.

Side One:
1. “One Man Parade”
2. “Nobody But You”
3. “Chili Dog”
4. “Fool for You”
5. “Instrumental I”
6. “New Tune”
7. “Back on the Street Again”
8. “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”
Side two
1. “Woh, Don’t You Know”
2. “One Morning in May”
3. “Instrumental II”
4. “Someone”
5. “Hymn”
6. “Fanfare”
7. “Little David”
8. “Mescalito”
9. “Dance”
10. “Jig”


Gordon Lightfoot – Back Here On Earth

Artist: Gordon Lightfoot
Genre: Folk
Title: Back Here On Earth
Released: 1971
Label: United Artist
Format: Vinyl
Musicians: Gordon Lightfoot – 6 & 12 string acoustic guitar, vocals, Laurice Milton “Red” Shea – Lead acoustic guitar, John Stockfish – Bass
Producer: Elliot Frederic Mazer
Engineer: Charles Edward Tallent & William Edward Blachly

Back Here On Earth is Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot’s fourth studio album, released in 1968 on the United Artists label.
Back Here on Earth was Lightfoot’s last studio recording on the United Artists label which he left after releasing the live album Sunday Concert in 1969. Unlike most UA pressings, this one is not too bad, but still not great. It is still a little insufficient on depth of sound.

This LP is basically the music one expects to hear from Gordon Lightfoot, including content. Although, I will point out that on the third track on side one, the song “Long Thin Dawn” features harmonized vocals, which are not all that good on the chorus, which causes the song to lose a bit of that Lightfoot charm, but the content is still there. The stand out songs to me on this LP are “Bitter Green” and “Marie Christine”, which oddly enough is also about a ship.
Reaching track one “Cold Hands From New York”, on side two we find that this song, while containing the solid Lightfoot content and style, turns out to be an annoying two chord progression with almost no variation for all four minutes.
Overall though, this is a good LP. Don’t let the cover fool you, it is not full of ballads if that is not your thing. In fact, there is only one ballad on it.