Friday, May 6, 2011

A Song For My Father Compilation CD Review

This compilation contains 14 famous songs, done by the children of the men who made them famous. It includes versions of "Evil Ways" and "Run To Me."

This is the perfect Father's Day album. It is a compilation of songs done by the children of the artists who made the songs famous.

"Evil Ways"

The album opens with "Evil Ways," as done by Salvador Santana, son of Carlos Santana. He starts off by saying, "Here we go," and indeed it's a great way to start this compilation. This is a fun, rocking version of the song. In addition to lead vocals, Salvador Santana does some amazing work on the keyboards. "Evil Ways" was written by Clarence Henry.

"Lover's Cross"

"Lover's Cross" is a really nice song written by Jim Croce, and an interesting choice for A.J. Croce (Jim Croce's son). Obviously there are other Jim Croce songs that are much more well known than this one (songs like "Time In A Bottle" and "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown"). But this is an excellent song, and A.J. does a great job with it, singing, "'Cause tables are meant for turning'/And people are bound to change/And bridges are meant for burnin'/When the people and memories they join aren't the same." The original version is included on Jim Croce's 1973 record I Got A Name.

"Cat's In The Cradle"
"Cat's In The Cradle" is so beautiful and so sad. And there's something perfect in Jen Chapin's voice. it doesn't seem like she has much of a range, but it doesn't matter because the character of her voice is wonderful. This is an excellent version of this song.

This song stands out in this collection as the one song that is actually about a father-child relationship. The lyrics start, "My child arrived just the other day/Came to the world in the usual way/But there were planes to catch and bills to pay/He learned to walk while I was away." The original version was included on Harry Chapin's 1974 record, Verities & Balderdash.

"Up On The Roof"
Louise Goffin certainly had a lot of songs to choose from. Her parents, Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote a ridiculous amount of hits. "Up On The Roof" is a fun tune, originally recorded by The Drifters in 1962. Louise Goffin adds another dimension to the song, by adding something wistful in the tone. The song feels more personal than ever before.

James Taylor
"Bartender's Blues" is one of many sad and wonderful songs that James Taylor wrote. His son, Ben Taylor, has a great voice, as he sings, "But I need four walls around me to hold my life/To keep me from going a-stray/And a honky-tonk angel to hold me tight/To keep me from slipping away." Chris Thomas adds a nice touch on stand-up bass in this version.

Leonard Cohen

Adam Cohen does an interesting and beautiful rendition of one of his father's best and most famous songs, "Bird On A Wire." (Actually, the song is titled "Bird On The Wire," but on this compilation it's listed as "Bird On A Wire.")

The drums and piano give this version a different feel from Leonard Cohen's version. Also, Adam does some different things vocally. The lyrics to this song (like the lyrics to almost all of Leonard Cohen's work) are wonderful: "Like a bird on the wire/Like a drunk in a midnight choir/I have tried in my way to be free." The original version was included on Leonard Cohen's album Songs From A Room.

The Beach Boys
"Warmth Of The Sun" is one of the prettiest Beach Boys songs. And here it's made even more beautiful by the soft feminine voices of Carnie and Wendy Wilson, daughters of Brian Wilson.
The original version was included on The Beach Boys' 1964 album Shut Down Volume 2.

The Mamas & The Papas

The Mamas & The Papas were always about the great vocals. And here Chynna Phillips (daughter of John Phillips) holds her own on the excellent song "Got A Feeling." She definitely adds her own flair. It's a really beautiful version of the song.

The original version by was the flip side to The Mamas & The Papas' 1966 hit single "Monday, Monday."

"Run To Me" by The Bee Gees

"Run To Me" is one of The Bee Gees' best songs - a tough one to tackle. How is one to bring something new to this song without ruining it? Well, Spencer Gibb & 54 Seconds succeed admirably. What an incredible version. It's just perfect. "Run To Me" was written by Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb, and includes these lyrics: "Run to me whenever you're lonely/Run to me if you need a shoulder/Now and then you need someone older/So darling, you run to me." Spencer Gibb is Robin Gibb's son.

"Coming In To Los Angeles"

"Coming In To Los Angeles" is one of Arlo Guthrie's most famous songs. This version by his daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie is incredible. It's mellow, beautiful. It benefits from some moody guitar work and some cool bass, plus the violin and the banjo. This is a slower version, and the slower pace works perfectly.

CD Track List

  1. Evil Ways - Salvador Santana
  2. Travelin' Man - Matthew & Gunnar Nelson
  3. Lover's Cross - A.J. Croce
  4. Cat's In The Cradle - Jen Chapin
  5. Midnight Rider - Devon Allman's Honeytribe
  6. Up On The Roof - Louise Goffin
  7. Bartender's Blues - Ben Taylor
  8. Soul Shake Down Party - Ky-mani Marley
  9. Bird On A Wire - Adam Cohen
  10. Yellow Moon - Ivan Neville
  11. Warmth Of The Sun - Carnie & Wendy Wilson
  12. Got A Feeling - Chynna Phillips
  13. Run To Me - Spencer Gibb & 54 Seconds
  14. Coming In To Los Angeles - Sarah Lee Guthrie

The liner notes include the lyrics as well as photos of the performers. There are also a few photos of the original performers with their children, including a photo of Harry and Jen Chapin. A Song For My Father was released in 2007. It was re-released on June 1, 2010, with a different cover, just in time for Father's Day.

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