Marcus Miller followed his debut LP, Suddenly, with this self-titled PRA/Warner Bros. album released during summer 1984. His fusion of funk/R&B/jazz is well-balanced on this effort and better represents his formidable talents as a bassist/songwriter/producer/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist. The high-energy "My Best Friend's Girlfriend" charted R&B and became a dance hit with its 12" version becoming a post-release favorite. Funk workouts like "Unforgettable" and "Juice" are balanced by crystalline ballads "I Know the Perfect Guy," "Is There Anything I Can Do," and "Nadine." [Some of the songs are listed on the 2000 JVC CD The Best of Marcus Miller.]
Sadly, the majority of Tex Owens' official commercial recordings, done for RCA-Victor in 1936, are missing.
Still, this CD runs to 22 tracks, encompassing the four songs he cut as a solo artist for Decca in August of 1934, his Texas Rangers collaboration "Dude Ranch Parts 1 and 2," and the four 1953-1954 sides for Wrightman. The rest are previously unissued demos of unknown origin or date, licensed from Owens' widow and comprising songs that only show up on lists of Tex's compositions, not his recordings.
The sound is generally good, with only moderate noise on the worst of the masters. Owens' demos are nearly as engaging as his formal recordings, and surprisingly include some backing musicians, as well as Owens' requisite guitar. Highlights, in addition to the title track and the pair of songs with the Texas Rangers, include "Daddy's Old Rocking Chair," "Cowboy Call," and "Don't Hide Your Tears My Darling."
America's most profound European-inspired doom metal act has returned with one of the most beautiful, refreshing listens of 2001. Owing much to the famous U.K. scene of the '90s, this act melds Cathedral, My Dying Bride, Anathema, and Paradise Lost together with a touch of Mental Home and a sprinkle of their own unique brand of cunning, lethargic doom. The vocals are both clean and gruff, but always painful, aching with the same, painful emotions one would have upon a spouse or loved one's death. In fact, both versions of "Silent Tomorrow" found on the album are perfect examples of what Novembers Doom invoke throughout the thrust of The Knowing. "Everything is beauty, and I have no love to share" and "each time I close my eyes I only wish for my end to come -- no angels sent for me," vocalist Paul Kuhr croons, as methodically heavy riffs crash painfully into quiet, oppressive melodies.
Opener "Awaken"'s glimmering guitars yearn for hope, before the gorgeous melancholic leads sink into the churning "Harmony Divine," which crescendos into walls of disharmonic guitars and feedback, before violently cutting out. Each track follows this brilliant formula, some playing around with slower and faster tempos, others simply walking the path between quiet solitude and chugging unforgiving. "In Faith" sounds fresh and original, yet it could have been easily culled from Paradise Lost's Shades of God or Icon, with its urgent, grim outlook and Gregor MacKintosh-inspired guitar mastery. Ten-minute epic "Last God" is filled with Turn Loose the Swans-era My Dying Bride goodness, almost like a sequel to that album's title track, but with more of a modern American doom twist. Heavy as all hell, the band mixes atmospheric keyboards, female vocals, and repetitive, opulent guitar riffery like masters, effortlessly showing just how talented this Chicago act have truly become. The Knowing sticks to a malleable formula, sounding fresh and consistent on every track, minus the funky mind-trip of "In Memories Past," which is wholly unique to Novembers Doom's sound. After the creepy record-skip that introduces the song (Gehenna's "Devil's Work" outro anyone?), Mary Bielich's funk-driven bass takes charge, calling forth mesmerizing, catchy guitar and vocal lines. Propelling along in a strange-'70s groove fashion that recalls a meeting of Cathedral's Garry Jennings, Saint Vitus, and Anathema (vocally), the song is held together by the relaxed, flawless rhythm section. A pleasant surprise indeed, as is the whole album with its bold arrangements, its technical virtuosity, and its command of the doom genre. Novembers Doom appear to have a rare gift for crystallizing the finest elements of doom oh-so-precisely, while simultaneously giving those European masters a serious run for their superiority.