MICHAEL FRANKS part 1.
"Warm vocals, jazzy keyboards, and a wonderfully laidback set"
Ballad, Easy Listening, Smooth Jazz, Jazz-Funk, Jazz-Rock
"Your Secret's Safe With Me (1985)"
"I Really Hope It's You"
01 King Of Oklahoma
02 Dobro Ladies
03 Three Today
04 Little Sparrow
05 Born With The Moon In Virgo
06 Just Like Key Largo
07 Can't Seem To Shake This Rock 'n Roll
08 When Blackbirds Fly
09 Lovesick Lizzie
10 Life's Little Highway
Link to download:
"This album was released in 1973 and promptly forgotton. This album has no theme or style to speak of, all the songs were recorded as individual tracks each totally seperate from the other, then compiled to create this release. "Can't Seem To Shake This Rock And Roll" was a hit single, it talks about a budding jazz musician not willing to let go of his first love, rock music. What I love about this song is the "Superfly" style wah wah guitar solo. "Three Today" is in the folk styling of Cat Stevens, it discusses a young father reaffirming himself all the while dealing with crisis of faith. "Dobro Lady" features, well, a dobro played by Michael and the song features background vocalists, female, that Michael would later employ on his later albums with Warner Brothers. "King Of Oklahoma" is a country tale of an Oklahoma boy trying to make it big as a c/w singer in LA. "Lovesick Lizzie" is a naughty tale of a prostitute. This album is a highlight of what was to come from Michael as far as his writing skills. The folk and country styles he would never return to, the rock music gave way to a more fusion style. His voice is higher here and somewhat untrained. The spartian artwork suggests the content of the rawness of this music. Michael's music of today makes us believe he was always the Brazilian inspired perfectionist we've come to know and love. Hard to believe he actually had to develop his sound, he wasn't born the way he is, this album is proof that we all must start somewhere."
"If there are any objections sustained on the standing up for the truth guidelines of Funk law and order, please be the first to fulfill the ignominy of such. Chief Sun Star Ali hears and feels the very essence of the far east coast connection, and some reel reel Mean Mugging. Prepare once again the sound system, for the "Deeper Prophecy is Clear!" Flick the lights, for the 'Last Dance' is near. In it's day this album must not be overlooked!"
"As others have pointed out, Franks' debut is not the cool Brazilian-inspired jazz his fans have come to expect. However, I've been listening to Franks for a LONG time, and this was actually the second of his records I ever heard. I bought it in a cutout bin for a buck and it wasn't even that old at the time; the cover was different (the handsome photo of a young, long-haired Michael was partly what caught my attention, and it should have been used for the reissue, with the picture used here on the back; as a designer, that would have been my choice). Anyway, because of songs like "The Lady Wants to Know," "Down In Brazil," "The Eye Of The Storm," and "Antonio's Song (The Rainbow)" from SLEEPING GYPSY, I was already a committed Franks fan when I heard this. Okay, so this album is very different from any of his others, but it is not only fascinating for the varied styles he was trying out, it's clear that his witty writing style was already well developed. In fact there is more risqué humor and daring philosophical commentary in these songs than on many of his later efforts, and this set is still one of my favorite MF albums. "Lovesick Lizzie" always makes me smile, and it, along with "Born With The Moon In Virgo," might raise eyebrows even now, given the ubiquitousness of an increasingly powerful conservative Christian movement (luckily, so far, we still live in free country, and few of those yahoos are likely to ever hear this CD). A singer who has recently resurfaced on a long overdue series of first-time-on-CD albums, Wendy Waldman, plays dulcimer and sings backup on a couple of tracks here, and there are also several well known sidemen from both the rock and jazz worlds helping out. Fans of the Michael Franks we all know and love today will notice that "Just Like Key Largo" proves that his present style had its beginnings here."
Bass - Wilton Felder /Congas - Jerry Steinholtz/ Drums, Percussion - John Guerin /Guitar - Larry Carlton/ Keyboards - Joe Sample /Producer - Tommy LiPuma /Vibraphone - Larry Bunker /Saxophone [Tenor] - Michael Brecker (track 06)/Saxophone [Alto] - David Sanborn (tracks 03,09)/Written-By - Michael Franks (tracks: 02 to 09)/ Written-by [Music] - Michael Small (track 01)Written-by [Words] - Michael Franks (track 01)
01 Nightmoves (4:03)
02 Eggplant (3:34)
03 Monkey See-Monkey Do (3:33)
04 St. Elmo's Fire (3:58)
05 I Don't Know Why I'm So Happy I'm Sad (4:16)
06 Jive (3:16)
07 Popsicle Toes (4:35)
08 Sometimes I Just Forget To Smile (3:45)
09 Mr. Blue (4:03)
Link to download:
"After his debut on the tiny Brut Records (a short-lived record label of the famous cologne company), Michael Franks established both his unique sound and a recording process he has continued throughout his career. Primarily a jazz artist, Franks crossed over to pop and rock fans through heavy FM airplay beginning with The Art of Tea. Sensually suggestive and playful tracks, such as "Popsicle Toes" and "Eggplant" contain sly wordplay and almost Henry Mancini-like, breezy jazz-pop. Employing a similar approach as Steely Dan did with its music, Franks' singing and songwriting formed the basis of a sound rooted in the support of top-notch musicians, many of whom were the hottest studio jazz players on the scene. Here, the killer rhythm section of drummer John Guerin and bassist Wilton Felder is augmented by horn pros Michael Brecker and David Sanborn, with Franks and Larry Carlton handling all the guitar work. This winning combination of players, styles, singing, and songwriting would be reshuffled and refined over the years, but perhaps with no finer results than on this official major label debut."
"A seminal classic from Michael Franks -- one of those records that's almost a whole genre unto itself, and which set a whole new tone for the male voice in American music! The style here is light and jazzy -- almost an evolution of modes first begun by Kenny Rankin, and served up here with a similarly compressed production style that really brings out the jazz in the instrumentation. Players include Michael Brecker, Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, and David Sanborn -- all sounding great with a bit of added strings from Nick DeCaro. But the real star of the set is clearly Franks -- whose light vocals and creative lyrics sound wonderful next to the electric piano on the set."
"A friend introduced me to this album when it was first issued and I've been a Michael Franks fan through thick and thin ever since. His appearance on the jazz scene was a welcome change from the jazz-fusion and disco that was in vogue at the time. Looking back over Franks' successful career, this auspicious debut propelled him toward the pantheon of great jazz musicians in which he resides today..Now, my musical tastes are pretty eclectic. I listen to lots of music and I own lots of music, and I can tell you that Michael Franks is one of the most literate, articulate song stylists on the musical scene, and that goes for any genre. But if you are already a Franks fan you know that.Sure, Franks' lyrics are sometimes cringingly cute and playful, witness Eggplant and Popsicle Toes. But they are nearly always clever.I prefer his more wistful and romantic songs. Art of Tea offers a good sampling of both types. To me, Nightmoves and Mr Blue are a couple of the finest songs written by anyone at any time.On Art of Tea, producer Tommy LiPuma brought in a great team of session musicians like Joe Sample and Larry Carlton to work with Franks. The result was a blockbuster album with an upper-crust appeal which established him firmly as a sophisticated writer and jazz vocalist. "
"Michael Franks was first introduced to me in 1986 by my girlfriend at the time. I immediately took to his style; cool, hip, understated, and yet incredibly powerful...just the way "true jazz" should be. When I broke up with that girl, I felt as though my world was split in two. I would look at the things she left in my possession; a hairpin, a bracelet, and a copy of Michael Franks, "The Art of Tea". I'd look at the cover of that record (yes, vinyl) and it would almost mock me. I couldn't bring myself to listen to it because everytime I heard it, I thought of "that beautiful girl in my throw-away world"...such are the dramatics of a 21 year old without much life experience under his belt. I have learned the "art of forgiveness" through the "Art of Tea". Yeah, there were times where I'd just to "forget to smile" but the more I listened to it, the more I began to realize what the true gift of my relationship was with that girl. She came into my life at just the right time to learn how to appreciate all of life...not just the good moments...not just the beautiful moments...but the sad and tragic moments, as well. And that's what I really hear Michael Franks singing about. Yeah, life is dramatic but it doesn't mean we have to be involved with "cheap drama". We can learn to embrace the highs as well as the lows and you can if you make this recording one of the soundtracks to your life. Know that you are a beautiful blessing."
"There are only a handful of albums I always listen to straight through. To me, that's the mark of a great album. The Art of Tea falls into this category. Every song is well-crafted and superbly played. This is definitely his best album (I would also highly recommend Sleeping Gypsy). Michael Franks is not for everyone, though. His music is thoughtful and sensitive, so if you like loud, edgy music, avoid this artist. Fans of Steely Dan, Sting, Pat Metheny, and bossa nova will probably enjoy Michael Franks"
SLEEPING GYPSY (1977)
Arranged By, Conductor - Claus Ogerman/ Drums, Percussion - John Guerin /Engineer, Arranged By - Al Schmitt /Featuring - Helio Delmiro* , Joao Palma*/ Guitar - Larry Carlton/ Keyboards - Joe Sample /Percussion - Joao Donato* , Larry Bunker , Ray Armando/ Producer - Tommy Lipuma/ Saxophone - David Sanborn , Michael Brecker , Wilton Felder /Written-By - Michael Franks
01 The Lady Wants To Know (4:45)
02 I Really Hope It's You (4:54)
03 In The Eye Of The Storm (5:55)
04 B'wana - He No Home (4:57)
05 Don't Be Blue (3:28)
06 Antonio's Song (The Rainbow) (5:03)
07 Chain Reaction (5:14)
08 Down In Brazil (4:33)
Link to download:
"After the success of The Art of Tea, Michael Franks was able to more confidently move closer to the kind of music he wanted to make. Employing a more exotic Brazilian feel on Sleeping Gypsy, with lush orchestration (courtesy of veteran jazz arranger and conductor Claus Ogerman), Franks moved his acoustic guitar work to the background to create a romantic sound with no sappiness. With "Down in Brazil" and, particularly, "Antonio's Song," his ode to Antonio Carlos Jobim, Franks was doing with Brazilian music for the rock crowd in the '70s what Stan Getz did for the jazz crowd in the '60s. He again employed his witty wordplay and evocative storytelling ability on "B'wana-He No Home," a song about a time when Dan Hicks was staying at his house while Franks was away. A romantic, elegant and important album in bringing Brazilian music to a wider audience."
"A really brilliant little record -- one of those gems that you've probably passed by so many times because it's ubiquitous, but which never fails to please over the years! Forget any pre-conceived notions you might have about Michael Franks, because at this early point in his career the man is a genre unto himself -- working in a unique blend of jazz, pop, and a bit of soul -- always served up sparely and with a great deal of understatement, but still filled with plenty of personal spirit on the lyrics. Franks' voice is beautifully compressed into the rest of the instrumentation by Tommy LiPuma -- in a style that still holds up wonderfully over the years, and which is set to Claus Ogerman arrangements that make plenty great use of keyboards from Joe Sample of The Crusaders! Tunes are all originals by Franks -- and there's some especially great Brazilian touches on the numbers "Antonio's Song" and "Down In Brazil"."
"This superb groove was recorded more than a quarter of a century ago and a young Michael Franks was already on his way to becoming the hippest kid on the block.On this, his third album, we see the fusion of musical influences that would create the trademark Franks "sound" - a highly sophisticated soft rock, heavily laced with cool jazz and Latin nuance.Downbeat jazz rears its beautiful head in the opening track "Lady Wants to Know" - musically and lyrically - "Daddy he's like Coltrane, baby's just like Miles, lady she's in heaven when she smiles..."."Antonio's Song" and "Down in Brasil" both have the sound, feel and potential to become classics of the Latin American genre. The former was written as a tribute to his hero (later friend and mentor) Antonio Carlos Jobim.Michael Franks is an exceptional talent - a writer, musician and singer of the first order.His compositions are beautifully crafted and draw upon the finest musical influences of our time."Sleeping Gypsy" remains a treat for the ears these many years after its initial release date.It's hip and cool - five stars, at least!"
"In 1977, I heard "The Lady wants to know" and was blown away! Later, I went on to buy the album and was floored! The standout tracks for me are, of course, "The Lady wants to know" and "I really hope it's you." Don't get me wrong, the whole album is very, very good. We are talking about someone who was financing his graduate education by writing (and singing) songs (he has his PHD in songwriting). He is a definite talent...go Michael Franks...Five Stars!"
"Released at the height of Disco, this album served as a refuge to those who wanted music to caress, the lyric to actually mean something, the singer to converse, the Brazilian backbeat to serve as a catalyst to our escapist fantasies. I love this album. It has the same electric piano as "Art Of Tea," but this album has a more finished sound to it overall, the strings suggest a bigger budget in the studio, and that's alright. Artists used this album, as they do "Art Of Tea" as a reference to Michael's compositions. "The Lady Wants To Know" is referred to by some as "Jazzy Soul" and is featured on Rhino Records "Jazzy Soul, Volume One." "B'wana He No Home" was covered by the Carpenters and featured as the opening track of their 1977 album "Passage." Their version is a little more "rock" than Michael's and they incorporated backing vocals. The one track that suggests "outtake" from the previous "Art Of Tea" is the bouncy "Don't Be Blue." The song is good in it's own right, it stands out from the others due to lack of strings. This album was recorded as a homage to Michael's hero Antonio Jobim, who passed away a few years ago and who's death inspired Michael to return to straight-forward Brazilian influenced music to produce "Abandoned Garden," the album dedicated to Jobim's memory."
BURCHFIELD NINES (1978)
Arranged By [Orchestra] - Eumir Deodato/ Bass - Will Lee /Concertmaster - Israel Baker /Drums - Steve Gadd /Guitar - John Tropea/ Mixed By - Al Schmitt /Percussion - Ralph MacDonald /Piano - Leon Pendarvis/ Saxophone - Ernie Watts (track 02,05)/Trumpet - Oscar Brashear (track 04)/Guitar [Acoustic] - Michael Franks (track 08)/Flute - Bud Shank (track 08)/Bass - Chuck Domanico (track 08)/Cello - Ed Lustgarten (track 08)/Producer - Tommy LiPuma /Written By - Michael Franks
01 When The Cookie Jar Is Empty (5:09)
02 A Robinsong (3:48)
03 Wrestle A Live Nude Girl (4:30)
04 Burchfield Nines (4:38)
05 Meet Me In The Deerpark (5:59)
06 Dear Little Nightingale (5:00)
07 In Search Of The Perfect Shampoo (4:04)
08 Vivaldi's Song (4:13)
Link to doanload:
"Recruiting an entire new lineup of jazz pros, Michael Franks came up with an album with a West Coast jazz base but a New York sensibility. Lyrically a natural follow-up to the slyly suggestive The Art of Tea and featuring less pronounced orchestration than his previous effort, thanks to producer Eumir Deodato, Franks took full advantage of rhythm players Will Lee, Ralph McDonald and Steve Gadd, to make an even funkier record than in the past. Songs like "When the Cookie Jar Is Empty," "Wrestle a Live Nude Girl" and "In Search of the Perfect Shampoo" are all sensually playful songs that fully captured the erotic yet innocent '70s-era of free love with a romantic sense of humor. Not as ambitious as his previous Sleeping Gypsy, but a continuation of his ongoing experimentation with different players and a consolidation of his unique songwriting style."
"Great songs, great vocals, great instrumentation, and another late 70s classic from Michael Franks -- one of the few mainstream masters of understatement in his generation! As on all his best albums, the style here is a subtle blend of jazz and pop with a bit of a Brazilian inspiration -- kind of a more mainstream take on styles that Bob Dorough and Blossom Dearie had first put forth, with all the sort of hip songwriting that sort of reference might imply. Deodato's at the helm of the arrangements here -- keeping things lean and clean, and using key contributions from players like Leon Pendarvis, John Tropea, Steve Gadd, and Bud Shank to flesh out the jazzier side of Franks' sound."
""Burchfield Nines" was released in 1978, Michael's third album for Warner Brothers. The first two releases, "Art Of Tea" and "Sleeping Gypsy" featured jazz ensembles backing Michael; the use of electric piano was heavy on those two albums, "Sleeping Gypsy" featured heavy orchestral backing. "Burchfied Nines" finds Michael in a more rock setting utilizing fuzz guitar; but not loudly. Michael's voice seems to be a bit thinner, almost fragile on the title track. As usual, word play and brilliant poetry abound, give a listen to the sleepy but masterful "Vilvadi's Song" and the playful "In Search Of The Perfect Shampoo." The opening track "When The Cookie Jar Is Empty" is comical and "A Robinsong" is one of the more upbeat tunes. At this point in his career, Michael continues to shift toward other musical directions, he never returns to the theme of this album which makes "Burchfield Nines" stand out on it's own."
"Burchfield Nines has the jazziest feel, the sassiest touch, the funniest and most tender lyrics.It is Michael Franks at the top of his art (and many of his albums are up there bringing us ultimate musical pleasure).Thank you MF."
"This is one of those rainy-Sunday-afternoon albums: crank up the volume and listen to it over and over. All of Michael Franks' work is superb, but this is quite possibly my favorite album. Every song is spectacular - the music is soothing but sexy and the lyrics intelligent."
TIGER IN THE RAIN (1979)
Kenny Barron Piano / Rubens Bassini Percussion / Crusher Bennett Conga/ Glenn Berger Engineer, Mixing/ Randy Brecker Horn / Herb Bushler Bass / Joe Caro Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric) / Ron Carter Bass, Bass (Acoustic) / John Clark Horn / Harold Coletta Strings, Viola /Dom Cortese Percussion, Concertina/ Lew DelGatto Horn / Louis del Gatto Horn / Lewis Eley Strings / Michael Franks Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals / Paul Griffin Organ / Hilda Harris Vocals (bckgr) / Bob Leinbach Organ / Howard Leshaw Flute/ Jesse Levy Strings / Charles Libove Strings, Violin / Dave Liebman Flute / Harry Lookofsky Violin, Concert Master / Guy Lumia Strings / Mike Mainieri Vocals (bckgr), Vibraphone / Joseph Malin Strings / Tom "Bones" Malone Horn / Lou Marini Horn / Rick Marotta Drums / Richard Maximoff Strings / Charles McCracken Strings / Bucky Pizzarelli Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric) / Anthony Posk Strings / Seldon Powell Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor) / Flora Purim Vocals (bckgr) / Ben Riley Drums / Claudio Roditi Horn/ David Sanborn Alto, Horn / Alan Shulman Strings / John Simon Percussion, Arranger, Producer / Lew Soloff Piccolo Trumpet / Richard Sortomme Strings / Maretha Stewart Vocals (bckgr) / Harry Urbont Strings / Emanuel Vardi Strings / Abdul Wadud Cello / Buddy Williams Drums / George Young Flute, Horn, Sax (Tenor)
01 Sanpaku (4:10)
02 When It's Over (3:03)
03 Living On The Inside (5:36)
04 Hideway (4:09)
05 Jardin Botanico (3:32)
06 Underneath The Apple Tree (5:52)
07 Tiger In The Rain (4:17)
08 Satisfaction Guaranteed (3:39)
09 Lifeline (6:10)
Link to download:
"Strangely enough, Tiger in the Rain would have been a smoother transition from Sleeping Gypsy, just as Burchfield Nines would have been a more natural follow-up to The Art of Tea. For the first time, Michael Franks made an album completely without the production team of Tommy LiPuma, Al Schmitt and Lee Hershberg, employing instead John Simon (the Band, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen). The recording boasts a large number of celebrated horn and string players, as well as jazz luminaries Ron Carter, Bucky Pizzarelli, Kenny Barron, Mike Mainieri and Flora Purim. Lush, romantic and more experimental than previous efforts, Tiger in the Rain has a seriousness of purpose that faithfully echoes that of Sleeping Gypsy, with less of a Brazilian feel and overall a more somber tone of lost love. While none of its songs has the instant appeal of some of his earlier writing, the album as a whole is as refreshing and meditative as a stroll through a rain forest."
"Another slice of late 70s genius from the amazing Michael Franks -- one of the few mainstream artists who was able to hold onto his own voice and course amidst the overwhelming force of the music industry! There's a beautifully mellow feel to the record -- jazzy, warm, personal, and heartfelt without sounding cloying at all. Arrangements this time around are by John Simon, and the session features plenty of jazzy work by Ben Riley, Seldon Powell, Bucky Pizzarelli, Flora Purim, Kenny Barron, and many others."
"I have been a fan of Michael Franks almost since he appeared on the scene in my hometown of San Diego. It has always been difficult to get rougher-edged friends to give him a chance as his voice is not particularly masculine (though, oddly enough, totally suited to the material) and his style is so suave and sensual that it must threaten their manhood. Amongst those unwilling to listen, "elevator music" is the kindest evaluation and "he sounds gay" the harshest. Neither is true. Occasionally Franks comes up with a really silly song but much of what he writes is really deep, sensitive, sensual, and clever. You just have to be willing to listen. I choose Tiger in the Rain as my first review of Franks' music as it is the most widely known if not the best of his earlier works. Sanpaku is a song that a co-worker described as something you might hear in K-Mart. That's accurate on a superficial level but just listen to the words. He's singing about love rescuing him from the quicksands of drug abuse. Sanpaku is his name for a drug-shrouded fantasy world. Franks' skill with words is evident throughout the album. I like every song with the exception of the title cut. Living on the Inside and Hideaway are sly slaps at the yuppie lifestyle that Franks surely lived. Jardin Botanico is an almost obligatory nod to Brazil where his idol Antonio Carlos Jobim was in residence. Franks deftly gives it a warm samba touch. Underneath the Apple Tree is a very sophisticated and sexy song with understated musical tension, some luscious flute solos and horn interludes, and lyrics that smolder with sensuality. Think Franks sounds gay? Then listen to Satisfaction Guaranteed. Anything more explicit would be crass. Want romantic? Then listen to Lifeline, in which Franks couches his rescue from a life adrift in nautical terms. Michael Franks' music is obviously not for everyone but if you are musically openminded and appreciate lyrical as well as musical virtuosuity, then you should give him a try if you have not already done so. Listening to Tiger in the Rain is an incredibly relaxing experience. By the way, that co-worker I mentioned earlier, a big, rough, coarse country boy from Arkansas eventually came to like a number of songs on the album so much that he forgot his "K-Mart" remark about Sanpaku and acquired his own copy of Tiger in the Rain."
"This was the album that I...uhhhh...lost something to. How's that for being vague? Like I mentioned in my 'Art of Tea' review, I was introduced to Michael Franks by my girlfriend at the time. She was my sleepy-eyed girl in my throw away world...she was someone who unknowingly taught me the gifts of compassion, grace, and beauty and she did it not only through the things she was and did, but in the things she wasn't and didn't do and in between the seen and the unseen, the doors of love always seemed to be open even if I, just a kid at the time, didn't always realize it. I listen to this collection of songs now and I finally "get it". I finally get what she was trying to say to me. I finally get the wisdom that laid quietly behind the veil of appearances. I finally get that beauty always stands and waits for us to notice it. This album is such a jewel in my collection. I keep it close. Literally as well as figuratively. Not because now I'm just a nostalgic old fool, but because it gently reminds me that true beauty is not flash and glitz, true beauty is simple, understated, often overlooked and for those of you who feel overlooked and passed by, do not give up because Love has not given up on you. If you are looking for something to soothe the wounds that we encounter along this journey, I suggest this CD. Its healing balm will soak deep into your soul and truly make you understand that Love is forever no matter what the appearances may look like."
"Forget the esoteric reviews. If you're listening to this album with a woman and she doesn't melt in your arms before the end, then there is something wrong with her...or you. It's also the perfect album for slowly sailing or cruising on the water."
Ray Armando Percussion, Conga/ Dennis Belfield Bass/ Lenny Castro Percussion/ André Fischer Percussion, Drums, Tambourine, Producer/ Clare Fischer Conductor, String Arrangements/ Michael Franks Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals/ Eric Gale Guitar/ Eddie Gómez Bass/ Don Grolnick Piano, Keyboards, Clavinet, Fender Rhodes/ Larry Hall Horn/Jerry Hey Conductor, Flugelhorn, Horn, Horn Arrangements/ Yolanda Howard Vocals (bckgr)/ Kim Hutchcroft Horn/ Neil Jason Bass/ Tommy LiPuma Producer/Rick Marotta Drums/ Hugh McCracken Guitar/ Petsye Powell Vocals (bckgr)/ Bill Reichenbach Jr. Conductor, Horn, Horn Arrangements/ Al Schmitt Engineer/ Sylvia Shemwell Vocals (bckgr)/ George Sopuch Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Rhythm)/ David Spinozza Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Rhythm)/ Tennyson Stephens Piano, Clavinet, Fender Rhodes/ Larry Williams Synthesizer, Conductor, Horn, Horn Arrangements, Synthesizer Arrangements/ Rick Zunigar Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar
02 Inside You
03 All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go
04 Lotus Blossom
05 On My Way Home To You
06 One Bad Habit
07 Loving You More And More
08 Still Life
09 He tells Himself He's Happy
Link to download:
"With Tommy LiPuma and Al Schmitt back producing, Michael Franks again moves in a different direction on One Bad Habit, with mixed results. Easily considered his commercial breakthrough, the album often lacks the lyrical and imaginative songwriting of previous efforts and sounds at times like two different albums. The contributions of Clare and Andre Fischer help bolster some of the more ambitious music, while players like Eddie Gómez, Eric Gale and David Spinozza at times appear underutilized. The title cut is another example of Franks' wry, observant takes on love and lust, yet musically it is a little lightweight. Still, considering the players, the occasionally adventurous musical ideas, and the basic jazz sound, Franks was able to go where very few jazz artists ever go in terms of attracting a larger audience and considerable airplay."
"Warm vocals, jazzy keyboards, and a wonderfully laidback set from Michael Franks -- a perfect illustration of the kind of music he could make better than anyone else! Although recorded at the end of the 70s, the set's got a simplicity that few other records of the time could match -- a stripped-down and honest quality that really sparkles, even amidst the top-shelf production and studio work supplied by Warner Brothers Records. Arrangements here are by Larry Williams, Clare Fischer, and others -- but as before, the main focus is usually on the sweet vocals and keyboards -- gliding out warmly over Michael Franks' well-penned and unique compositions.
"Of All the Michael Franks, this is by far one of his best. Even though I have been a fan for years, this cd is still my favorite. The title track One Bad Habit is so smooth and so catchy, here I am still humming it more than 20 years after I first heard it. This will be a favorite on mellow evenings to listen to. If you're ready to kick back and relax, slip this cd on, dim the lights and enjoy!"
"This one is one my favourite albums. Superb songs in all the tracks ! Buy this for "On my way home to you" where he sings so effortlessly over some lovely chord progressions. It reminded me of Joao Gilberto's floating style over equally fiendish Bossa Nova chord changes. I think that these two singers have much in common in their unaffected style of fragile intimacy. (You feel as if you've always KNOWN their voices as you know your lover's whisper or your cat's purr.. ). Pure magic !!"
"I only recently discovered Michael Franks but now I have virtually every album . In my view this is his very finest and ranks among the best rock / jazz albums ever. I won't go into all the colorful adjectives here but I think you get the idea. Forget also the age of the recording because this is not simpy an album but rather a complete experience and the recording quality (yes it was analogue) surpases that of any digit recording I have yet heard. An absolute must."
01 Don't Be Blue
02 When the Cookie Jar is Empty
03 The Lady Wants to Know
04 B'Wana-He No Home
05 Chain Reaction
06 Antonio's Song
07 Monkey See, Monkey Do
08 Popsicle Toes
Link to download:
"A long time ago I lived with my then boyfriend . he had a lot of tapes. No cd's back then ;-)We were always listening to a live concert of someone I did not know, but I always remembered that they said here is Michael franks with crossfire.Years later (I broke up with the guy) i discovered Michael franks had a lot of albums, so I bought one and it was great, but i still wanted the one with crossfire. The atmosphere the timing, those together.it sounded so good, and given the fact that i have very nice memories with this music.It had a big impact on me. so i give it 5 stars."
"I used to own this album on vinyl, and was delighted to find that it has been released on CD. The Crossfire band is a perfect fit for Franks, creating a warm and smooth atmosphere around this collection of his top songs. This is smooth jazz from long before the term came into regular use, and a very recommendable experience for Michael Franks fans and others who like smooth, high quality jazz in a live setting."
"A very smooth Jazzy album with probably the best songs of Michael Franks, very hard to get hold of but definitely one one should have, if one likes Franks"
OBJECTS OF DESIRE (1982)
Tawatha Agee Vocals (bckgr)/ Phillip Ballou Vocals (bckgr)/ Ray Bardani Tambourine, Producer, Engineer, Mixing/ Rubens Bassini Percussion, Conga/ Michael Brecker Sax (Tenor)/ Randy Brecker Trumpet, Flugelhorn/ Larry Carlton Guitar (Electric)/ Joe Caro Guitar (Electric)/ Francisco Centeno Bass/ Kacey Cisyk Vocals (bckgr)/ Michael Colina Arranger, Cymbals, Producer, Arp, Oberheim, String Arrangements, Rhythm Arrangements, Moog Bass/ Rick Cutler Drums/ Renee Diggs Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)/ Mark Egan Bass/ Lawrence Feldman Flute, Sax (Alto), Sax (Tenor)/ Victor Feldman Percussion, Conga/ Michael Franks Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Liner Notes, Rhythm Arrangements/ Paul Gauguin Artwork, Paintings/ Tim Holland Assistant Producer/ Jill Jaffe Strings/ Neil Jason Bass/ Katherine Jewell Production Coordination/ Steve Khan Guitar (Classical)/Simon Levy Art Direction, Design/ Yvonne Lewis Vocals (bckgr)/ Ted Lo Fender Rhodes/ George Marino Mastering/ Harvey Mason, Sr. Drums/ Hugh McCracken Guitar (Electric)/ Yolanda McCullough Vocals (bckgr)/ Barry McKinley Photography/ Leslie Miller Vocals (bckgr)/ Nick Moroch Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)/ Rob Mounsey Synthesizer, Piano, Piano (Electric), Fender Rhodes, Oberheim, Brass Arrangement/ Noel Newbolt Production Coordination/ Andy Newmark Drums/ Bonnie Raitt Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)/ David Sanborn Sax (Alto)/ Lew Soloff Trumpet, Flugelhorn/ Bette Sussman / Luther Vandross Vocals (bckgr)/ Randy VanWarmer Vocals (bckgr)/ Buddy Williams Drums
02 Ladies' Nite
03 No-Deposit Love
04 Laughing Gas
06 Tahitian Moon
08 Love Duet
09 No One But You
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"Again, Michael Franks switches gears, this time back to a more romantic, thoughtful approach. The result is Objects of Desire, a natural follow-up to Tiger in the Rain. Steve Khan adds a distinctive touch with his guitar work as does Rob Mounsey with his keyboards; yet neither takes away from the orchestrated grandeur of some tracks. Primarily produced by Franks, the album was his most personal statement musically up to that point. In his attempt to create a musical portrait in a style reminiscent of the art of Paul Gauguin, Franks comes closest with "Tahitian Moon." His clever love song style is evident on "Laughing Gas"; yet in setting out to come up with something ambitious within the jazz-pop arena, Franks is again less successful at creating songs with the wide appeal of his earlier works. Musically throughout, though, Franks shows off his multi-sensory artistic influences as well as his continuing ability to try new things, with excellent results."
"I've owned this recording in some form or another since it was issued and have always liked it. But somehow, I just never got around to writing about it.Objects of Desire was recorded toward the merciful end of the disco era. Franks never followed that fad but here takes a couple of cracks at some aspects of disco culture using tunes faintly redolent of that form to press his point. Ladies Night and No Deposit Love are the chief examples of this. Jealousy and Flirtation are horn-driven tunes that tastefully give off a teasing whiff of disco while remaining firmly rooted in jazz. All-star sidemen Randy Brecker and Lew Soloff provide the brass pyrotechnics that give these two a funky edge.No Franks album would be complete without some reference to the tropics. Here this is given two places, on the dreamy Tahitian Moon and in the cover art that reproduces a Gaugin painting.Jealousy, Laughing Gas, and Wonderland are my favorite cuts but the whole CD is testimony to Franks' status as one of the finest composers and wordsmiths in modern music. I highly recommend this overlooked gem which still sounds great nearly 20 years after its release."
""Objects Of Desire" I feel is one of Michael's breeziest albums. Coming off the disco craze, this recording features upbeat melodies with electronic keyboards and horn arrangements. "No Deposit Love" is a track with Michael doing multi-vocal overdubbing, something he rarely does. Bonnie Raitt was an already established Warner Brothers star when she was featured on the duet "Ladies Night." This style of song is clearly a departure for her, yet here she sounds relaxed; as if she's been doing this kind of material for years. The opening track "Jealousy" in it's lyric, refers to "Othello" interestingly enough. Further proof of Michael's never ending supply of reference for his subject matter. The mastering of this disc, or for that matter the album itself, is a bit quiet. This little bit aside, this is a fun album."
"This is classic Michael Franks. This is the album that started it all for me. Check out the track Ladies' Nite - he sings a duet with Bonnie Rait. This album also contains Tahitian Moon - a soulful song that always makes me wish I could crawl into a bungelow on the beach of Tahiti with the island girl he meets in this song. If you want a mellow collection of some of Mr. Franks greatest, this is it!"
Randy Brecker/ Hiram Bullock/ Kacey Cisyk/ Edie Daciels/Sue Evans Jon Faddis/ Michael Franks Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals/ Arthur Friedman Engineer/ Steve Gadd/ Astrud Gilberto/ Neil Jason/ Will Lee/Hugh McCracken/ Jeff Mironov/ Rob Mounsey Producer/David Nadien/ Chris Parker/ Kenny Rankin/ Pat Rebillot Hamish Stuart/ Toots Thielemans/David Tofani/John Tropea/ Naná Vasconcelos
01 Alone At Night
02 Never Satisfied
04 Now That Your Joystick's Broke
05 Sunday Morning Here With You
06 Never Say Die
07 Rainy Night In Tokyo
08 Tell Me All About It
09 When Sly Calls (Don't Touch That Phone)
10 How The Garden Grows
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"While on first listen Michael Franks' Passionfruit appears to convey a jazz fusion approach, the inclusion of such contributors as Naná Vasconcelos, Astrud Gilberto and Toots Thielemans actually shows it to be a further continuation of Franks' championing of Brazilian music, with a light and deft touch. As on his previous outing, for which he brought in guest vocalists (Bonnie Raitt, Luther Vandross and Randy VanWarmer), on this album he enlists vocalist Kenny Rankin as well as Gilberto. This time, though, the vocalists appear to be a more natural fit. "Amazon," "Rainy Night in Tokyo" and "How the Garden Grows" reveals some of his best writing in some time, while "Now That Your Joystick's Broke" wouldn't be out of place lyrically alongside some of his clever, earlier songs."
"This album was my very first introduction to Michael Franks. He became - accidentally and until today - one of the very few, personal five-star rated performers. It's true, in my mind Passionfruit marks the paramount artistry of Franks', produced by keyboard wiz Rob Mounsey (who had previously already played with the likes of Steely Dan, James Taylor, etc.). The result is awesome! The release starts off with the atmospheric "Alone at Night", and introduces one of the moodiest and most soulful blues harp lines I've ever heard. Or take the more up-tempo "Never Satisfied". I also sympathize with every word sung, every line written for this composition. Extremely touchy for anyone who effer suffered from true loneliness. "Now That Your Joystick's Broke" is a pure keyboard-track, almost danceable, a reminiscence to modern technology. The contrast, "Never Say Die", gives you the feeling of completely getting lost in a romantic situation. "When Sly Calls (Don't Touch That Phone)" is still up-to-date, depicting Michael's desire to be away from the stressful and fast-lane life of today's big cities: "I am not here, I'm making my escape, the me you hear is magnetized on tape..." The entire album holds an innate atmosphere I've seldom heard with any other release. The most superb musicians gathered achieve an unique background soundtrack which perfectly embeds one of the most underrated artists of today's jazz scene, Michael Franks. For me, without a doubt: A full five-star rating!"
"Michael was busy in the early eighties, he released two albums, toured and somehow found inspiration into creating this album, "Passionfruit," released in 1983. Each song stands out in it's own right yet it all comes together here in a marvelous cohesion. The album was Michael's commercial and artistic triumph. "Alone At Night" has such a great opening, it's used as the theme for a late night music program for a radio station in Cincinnati. "Never Satisfied" is an upbeat number with catchy hooks you'll be humming hours after you hear it, "Now That Your Joystick's Broke" finds Michael playing with electronic voice manipulation. After this release, Michael gets very contemporary and electronics savvy. "Never Say Die" was an Adult Contemporary radio staple, "Rainy Night In Toyko" is smooth with a tale to tell. "Tell Me All About It" is very sensual, it was recently covered by Natale Cole, who didn't miss a beat when it came to this song's sensuality, she explored this aspect of the tune and the result is a mindblower. "When Sly Calls" is a lament about Michael being stalked by a shifty fellow, it's funny and the girl chorus adds to the comedy. Like all of Michael's albums, his word choice for lyric is unparalled, the music arrangements timeless."
"This is the most fantastic musical poetry I've ever heard. Only MF could have the great Astrud Gilberto sing backing vocals (Amazon.com)and pull it off without a hitch. Every track is a standout. My personal favorite is Alone At Night. However, my strongest recommendation is this. For those who are able, go out and find Passionfruit on LP. Do whatever you have to. I have 2 copys on CD and a copy on minidisc. I bought the vinyl on a whim. I was blown away. Completely. This is the ONLY way Michael Frank's music should be heard. On vinyl, the music actually involves you. I rarely listen to the CD now. I listen to the LP almost everyday! If you're looking to get into MF's music, this is the album to do it."
Manolo Badrena Percussion /Dave Bargeron Euphonium/Warren Bernhardt Piano/Michael Brecker Sax (Tenor)/ Hiram Bullock Guitar/Joe Caro Vocals (bckgr)/Clifford Carter Piano/Cliff Carter Piano/Ron Carter Bass/ Vivian Cherry Vocals (bckgr)/Kacey Cisyk Vocals (bckgr)/John Clark French Horn/Blaine Cone Assistant Engineer/ Ronnie Cuber Sax (Baritone)/Debbie DeMeo Production Coordination/Mark Egan Bass/Bill Evans Flute/ Sue Evans Percussion/Jon Faddis Flugelhorn/Lawrence Feldman Flute (Alto)/Babi Floyd Vocals (bckgr)/Bobby Floyd Vocals (bckgr)/ Frank Floyd Vocals (bckgr)/Michael Franks Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)/Steve Gadd Drums/Peter Gordon French Horn/Danny Gottlieb Cymbals, Drums/Kevin Halpin Engineer, Remixing/Lee Herschberg Remastering/Neil Jason Bass/Steve Khan Guitar/Will Lee Bass, Vocals (bckgr)/Laura LiPuma Art Direction, Design/George Marino Mastering/ Hugh McCracken Guitar/Barry McKinley Photography/Leslie Miller Vocals (bckgr)/Marcus Miller Bass/Jeff Mironov Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)/Rob Mounsey Synthesizer, Arranger, Programming, Vocals (bckgr), Producer/ Andy Newmark Drums/Chris Parker Drums, Programming/Ed Rak Engineer, Remixing/Brenda Russell Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)/ David Sanborn Sax (Alto)/ Ben Wisch Engineer/David Young Assistant Engineer/George Young Flute (Alto)
01 Read My Lips (3:38)
02 Let Me Count The Ways (4:33)
03 Your Secret's Safe With Me (4:38)
04 Don't Be Shy (5:06)
05 When I Give My Love To You (4:31)
06 Queen Of The Underground (4:25)
07 Now I Know Why (They Call It Falling) (4:53)
08 Please Don't Say Goodnight (4:50)
09 When She Is Mine (5:25)
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"Skin Dive marked the first time that Michael Franks appeared to be alternately running out of steam, repeating himself, and moving far afield from his unique jazz-pop hybrid. While this self-produced effort includes some fine playing from the usual cast of jazz pros, and the song "Your Secret's Safe with Me" has the perfect melding of jazz and pop, much of the rest of the music comes across as a bit too sparse and musically, many of the songs are not sufficiently fleshed out. Franks' musical personality still shines, but the wonderful musicians gathered together never really get to contribute in any way that makes for musical sparks."
"Recorded after a two year break, Michael went head first into electric music. This album is wholly electronic, "Passionfruit." the album before this one, experimented with synths and the like lightly. Michael also experiments with multi-track vocal overdubbing and vocal doubling effects. "Now I Know Why They Call It Falling" is a prime example of Michael's vocal arrangement in the overdubbing vein. Moving away from electric, "When She Is Mine" is a moving jazz ballad surrounding Michael in a full horn section. "You Secret's Safe With Me" was a radio hit, this is the song that helped me discover Michael. Remember the video? It was in heavy rotation on the infant channel VH1. Michael was walking down a rainy street wearing a black trench coat. Not really creative, but it was his first attempt. I'm a huge Brenda Russell fan as well as Michael's, the duet "When I Give My Love To You" is sweet, I've often wondered whose idea it was for Brenda to do all the background vocals. I feel the song would be a bit warmer if Michael had a helping hand harmonizing with her backgrounds, it worked for the Carpenters. "Queen Of The Underground" displays Michael's interesting word choice for lyric, his vocal is run through a vocoder for added effect; the track is almost danceable. The opening track "Read My Lips" is an upbeat tale about secret love..."Don't be Shy" is a song actually built around a synth drum riff. This album overall is more upbeat than anything Michael had recorded to this point. It may mark time as eighties music but it's still thoroughly enjoyable."
"I was blown away by Passionfruit (Rob Mounsey produced all 3: Passionfruit, Skin Dive & The Camera Never Lies) there was no way he could possibly top that one and I was wrong. Skin Dive (1985) was amazingly different but as perfect as Passionfruit. I waited for this one to come out and bought it and taped it and went to Europe for six weeks. I was just getting acclimated to the songs when I took my walks in Berlin and Paris. What an excellent summer and Franks was there with me. What can I say, I fell in love with Skin Dive. I listened to it over and over for years and now have it on CD. Franks has always been there during the great moments in my life with outstanding new music. Thank you Michael Franks, thanks again for being there!"
"your heart will begin to admire the sensitivity of this breathy singer. you may laugh at the almost cool, half wet, mussed hair, in michael's attempt at fitting in with the hot 80's crowd, displayed through upbeat inclusions of 'let me count the ways', 'don't be shy', and 'queen of the underground'. 'when i give my love to you' is a male/female duet that will make you 'surrender to the fantasy', a pretty, flowing, touching dedication. my favorite is 'now i know why', that sounds like it belongs in a romantic 80's movie, with the line, 'why is your heart resurrected, just when you least expect it', and a tick - tock rhythm like a heartbeat. 'when she is mine' ends the cd with slow, classic romantic jazz: bass, sax, piano, and drum brushes (charming). overall i was impressed with the poetic verbalizations, selection diversity, and sensitive personality of this cd."
THE CAMERA NEVER LIES (1987)
Richard Alderson Engineer/Patti Austin Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)/Michael Brecker Sax (Tenor), EWI/Randy Brecker Trumpet/Hiram Bullock Guitar/Cliff Carter/Clifford Carter Synthesizer, Piano, Arranger/Kacey Cisyk Vocals (bckgr)/ Jeff Cox Assistant Engineer/Debbie DeMeo Production Coordination/Neil Dignon Remix Assistant/ Cornell Dupree Guitar/Mark Egan 8-String Bass/Bill Evans Sax (Tenor)/Lawrence Feldman Sax (Alto)/ Michael Franks Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals/Art Garfunkel Vocals (bckgr)/Robin Gould Drums/Lani Groves Vocals (bckgr)/ Kevin Halpin Engineer, Remixing/Neil Jason Bass/Steve Jordan Drums/Steve Khan Guitar/Earl Klugh Guitar (Acoustic)/ Mike Krowiak Assistant Engineer/Will Lee Bass, Vocals (bckgr)/ Ralph MacDonald Percussion, Conga/Marcus Miller Bas/ Jeff Mironov Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)/Mike Morgan Assistant Engineer/Rob Mounsey Organ, Synthesizer, Flute, Piano, Arranger, Bass (Vocal), Keyboards, Programming, Vocals (bckgr), Producer, Keyboard Bass/ Chris Parker Cymbals, Drums, Hi Hat/Gabrielle Raumberger Art Direction, Design/Lew Soloff Trumpet/Roger Squitero Caxixi, Shekere/ Richard Tee Piano/Michal Urbaniak Violin/George Wadenius Guitar/Dave Weckl Drums/Larry Williams Photography/ Jon Wolfson Engineer
01 Face To Face
02 I Surrender
03 The Camera Never Lies
04 Lip Service
05 When I Think Of Us
06 Island Life
07 Now You're In My Dreams
08 Doctor Sax
"After the disappointing Skin Dive (i dont agree at all !! -saltyka), this album signaled a move back, at least partially, to the winning Franks formula. The title cut, "Island Life," and "Doctor Sax," although all occasionally missing the mark, reflected a strong recommitment to the kind of songs that Franks was capable of writing. With Rob Mounsey producing, which gave the album the right balance of a modern sound with no gimmicks, and players like Mark Egan, Dave Weckl, and Richard Tee adding some much-needed jazz muscle, Franks was making exciting music again. Additionally, Earl Klugh was the perfect guitar foil for Franks' music. Lani Groves and Art Garfunkel also fit just right, demonstrating that the right vocalists on a Franks album enhance the possibilities for genre crossover."
""The Camera Never Lies" is full on synth pop. The title track features a harmony vocal by Art Garfunkel, "Face To Face" is a nice upbeat opener, I had trouble convincing a dear freind of mine "I Surrender" is really a good song, "just listen to it a couple times, it'll grow on you." She never got it. "Island Life" was a video subject, it got some airplay on VH1. "Now You're In My Dreams" was played on radio and Patti Austin is a great partner for Michael on this song, it really deserved more attention than it ultimately recieved. "Lip Service" is Michael at his wordplay best, "Doctor Sax" has a similar arrangement as "Queen Of The Underground" from the previous release "Skin Dive," which was two years prior to this album's release. "Doctor Sax" centers around a blistering sax solo, it tells a tale of a grease monkey by day, sax player at night. What is Michael if not fantasy? The final track, "Innuendo," is a beautiful song featuring accoustic guitar, a departure from the rest of this album. Some believe this is a routine release, a floater album. Michael does sound very at ease here, but I feel this album, as with all Michael's albums, are far from routine, it's a great body of work."
"Michael Franks' soothing voice and jazzy rhythms makes for the type of music you want to keep in your car and play after a hard day's work or cleaning in the house. In this day and age of overprocessed pop and the quasi-barely talented, Michael Franks is a welcome change."
"This CD is filled with terrific songs and great productions - Michael at his seductive, sensuous best! He may too sophisticated for wide pop appeal, but he sure satisfies the musically and lyrically educated taste!"
Michael Franks (voc)/Gil Goldstein (kbds)/Chuck Loeb (g)/Alex Foster (reeds)/Mark Egan (b)/Robin Gould (dr)/Monolo Badrena (perc)
01 Sometimes I Just Forget To Smile (04:25)
02 Chain Reaction (07:38)
03 Eggplant (04:33)
04 Island LIfe (04:12)
05 When I Think Of Us (04:39)
06 Leading Me Back To You (05:24)
07 Sunday Morning Here With You (09:00)
08 Monkey See - Monkey Do (16:04)
09 Antonio (05:43)
10 Robin Song (04:38)
11 Baseball (05:34)
12 Tokyo (04:54)
13 Popsicle Toes (04:53)
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