Sunday, 3 April 2011

"Do What You Want Be What You Are – The Music Of Daryl Hall & John Oates" by HALL & OATES. A Review Of The 2009 Box Set.


This review is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

                       http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00LQKMC6I

 "…When You Pull Them All Together…You Make My Dreams Come True…"


Across the last 3 decades, Hall & Oates fans have had to put up with the occasional half-assed “Best Of” CD with so-so sound and a slew of very expensive Japanese imports for their huge canon of albums and 40-years-plus career. All of that piecemeal approach ends with this superlatively musical and beautiful sounding 4CD retrospective.

There’s so much on here so let’s detail the nuts and bolts first - USA released 13 October 2009, RCA/Legacy 88697 36974 2 breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (78:12 minutes):
1. Girl I Love You – THE TEMPTONES (feat Daryl Hall) – 1967, USA 7” single on Artic 130
2. I Need Your Love – THE MASTERS (feat John Oates) – 1966, USA 7” single on Crimson CR-1008
3. Says These Words Of Love - THE TEMPTONES (feat Daryl Hall) – 1967, USA 7” single on Artic 136
4. Perkiomen [1970, Unreleased Recording]
5. I’m Sorry
6. Fall In Philadelphia
7. Waterwheel
8. Lily (Are You Happy) (5 to 8 from their debut LP “Whole Oates”, 1972)
9. Had I Known You Better
10. Las Vegas Turnaround
11. She’s Gone (9 to 11 from “Abandoned Luncheonette”, 1973)
12. You’re Much Too Soon
13. Is It A Star – 12 and 13 from “War Babies”, 1974
14. It’s Uncanny
15. Love You Like A Brother (14 and 15 were new recordings on the compilation “No Goodbyes”, 1977)
16. Lady Rain
17. Beanie G. And The Rose Tattoo
18. Better Watch Your Back
19. Abandoned Luncheonette
20. When The Morning Comes (16 to 20 are all Previously Unreleased Live Versions, recorded 3 Oct 1975 at The New Victoria Theatre in London)

Disc 2 (78:59 minutes):
1. Carmellia
2. Sara Smile
3. Alone Too Long (1 to 3 are from “Daryl Hall & John Oates”, 1975)
4. Gino (The Manager) (2009 Remix, Previously Unreleased)
5. Ennui On The Mountain
6. Out Of Me, Out Of You (5 and 6 are from “Daryl Hall & John Oates”, 1975)
7. Back Together Again
8. Rich Girl
9. Crazy Eyes (7 to 9 from “Bigger Than Both Of Us”, 1976)
10. Have I Been Away Too Long
11. August Day
12. It’s A Laugh (10 to 12 from “Along The Red Ledge”, 1978)
13. I Don’t Wanna Lose You (7” Remix) (1978 USA 7” single, album cut on “Along The Red Ledge”)
14. Wait For Me (from “X-Static”, 1979)
15. Time’s Up (Alone Tonight) (Previously Unreleased Outtake from “X-Static”, 1979)
16. The Woman Comes And Goes (from “X-Static”, 1979)
17. How Does It Feel To Be Back
18. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (Righteous Brothers cover version)
19. Kiss On My List (17 to 19 from “Voices”, 1980)
20. Everytime You Go Away (Live In Tokyo, Japan, 1996, Previously Unreleased)

Disc 3 (80:00 minutes):
1. You Make My Dreams (from “Voices”, 1980)
2. Private Eyes
3. Head Above Water
4. Did It In A Minute
5. Your Imagination
6. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (2 to 6 from “Private Eyes”, 1981)
7. Don’t Go Out (a “Private Eyes” Outtake, Previously Unreleased)
8. Maneater
9. Family Man
10. One On One
11. Go Solo (8 to 11 are from “H2O”, 1982)
12. Say It Isn’t So (from “Rock ‘N Soul Part 1”, 1983)
13. Adult Education [USA 12” Mix on RCA JD-13736] (original album cut on “Rock ‘N Soul Part 1”, 1984
14. Out Of Touch (7” Single Mix) (original album cut on “Big Bam Boom”)
15. Method Of Modern Love
16. Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid (15 and 16 are from “Big Bam Boom”, 1984)
17. Possession Obsession (Live) (from “Live At The Apollo With David Ruffin And Eddie Kendrick”, 1985)
18. A Nite At The Apollo Live! – The Way You To The Things You Do/My Girl (Live, 7” Version) (original album cut on “Live At The Apollo With…”)

Disc 4 (78:17 minutes):
1. Everything Your Heart Desires (Video Mix) [Rare 1988 CD single version]
2. Missed Opportunity
3. Keep On Pushin’ Love (2 and 3 from “Ooh Yeah”, 1988)
4. Storm Warning (“Change Of Season” Outtake, Previously Unreleased)
5. Change Of Season (from “Change Of Season”, 1990)
6. Starting All Over Again (Live In Tokyo, Japan, 1995, Previously Unreleased)
7. So Close (Live In Portland, Oregon in 2006, Previously Unreleased)
8. Do It For Love
9. Forever For You
10. Heartbreak Times (8 to 10 from “Do It For Love”, 2003)
11. All The Way From Philadelphia (Previously Unreleased)*****
12. Have You Ever Been In Love [Demo] (Previously Unreleased)
13. Me And Mrs. Jones (Live At John Jay College, New York, 24 March 2003, Previously Unreleased cover version of The O’Jays Philadelphia classic)
14. I Want Someone (Live From Daryl’s House, Previously Unreleased cover version of The Mad Lads Stax Records classic)
15. Do What You Want, Be What You Are (Live 2007, Previously Unreleased)
16. Dreamer (’72-’09 Redux, Previously Unreleased Re-recorded Version)

The first thing that hits you (apart from the superlatively annotated booklet with reminiscences on every song by the duo) is the SOUND. I’ve raved about VIC ANESINI remasters before (The Jayhawks, Stevie Ray Vaughan) and his transfers here are fabulous – warm, clear and never too pushed on the treble front. Every track is a revelation to me. The sonic hit off “She’s Gone” is just amazing – it’ll put chills on your arms. Then there’s the parade of hit-after-hit that is shockingly impressive – “Wait For Me”, “Out Of Touch” and “Do It For Love”.

But better than that are the albums cuts that finally get to shine – “August Day”, “You Make My Dreams” (lyrics above), “Your Imagination”, “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” and “Keep On Pushin’ Love” - gems that deserve rediscovery. The unreleased stuff is admittedly not exactly bulging at the seams, but what they’ve chosen is actually worth inclusion. The “Have You Ever Been In Love” demo is superb - while their molecular-level love of Soul Music shines through with their inclusion of classy covers by The O’Jays (“Me And Mrs. Jones”) and The Mad Lads (“I Want Someone”). And the box set’s title song “Do What You Want, Be What You Are” is given an awesome 2007 live going over that show these white Philly dudes have more soul in their little fingers than most people do in their entire bodies. Pretty impressive stuff…

Niggles – fans will immediately notice that two huge favourites “When The Morning Comes” and “Everytime You Go Away” are represented here by ‘live’ versions and not their beloved studio originals – but I’d defend the choices. The 1975 version of “When The Morning Comes” features a rare ‘duo-only’ live setting and its intimacy is just lovely - while the 9:30 minutes version of “Everytime You Go Away” features a churchy organ feel and is fabulously fleshed out with Acapella passages that elicit a genuinely thrilled response from the Japanese audience. I can see why they were chosen. The same applies to the beautiful Phillip Mitchell song “Starting All Over Again” – Hall has chosen a live version, but he’s done so because it somehow has the depth it deserves this way.

Omissions - there’s a great soulful exclusive on the 1999 soundtrack to “Runaway Bride” called “And That’s What Hurts” – and it really should be on here (perfect box set material). There’s nothing from the “Marigold Sky” album (1997) and 2005’s covers set “Our Kind Of Soul” had 3 new songs, one of which was the blindingly good “Don’t Turn Your Back On Me” – again a no-show. There’s not enough from the wonderful “Change Of Season” album either and of course no solo stuff. Still – and I must stress this – what’s on here is the business.

Since 2009 Daryl Hall has become something of an Internet hero with his stunning “Live From Daryl’s House” broadcasts – they feature him and invited musical pals going through Hall & Oates back catalogue with sidesteps into other favourite songs too. It features a band professionally set up in his living room with chitty-chatty clips in between. Check out soulful YouTube clips of “Pick Up The Pieces” with Alan Gorrie from the Average White Band, “Can We Still Be Friends” with Todd Rundgren, “Something To Talk About” (a Bonnie Raitt cover) and “Black Horse And A Cherry Tree” with KT Tunstall and “Cruel To Be Kind” with Nick Lowe. And prepare yourself to be quietly blown away.

To sum up - for most people a simple “Best Of” would probably suffice, but I’d urge to dig deeper into your pocket. This Box Set is an impressive body of work – superbly presented, well thought out and beautifully mastered. It deserves (like the best things in life) to be put high on your "kiss list". And don't let those Eighties clothing choices put you off either.

Honestly – sometimes you just need a shoulder-pad and a big hairdo. Way to go boys…

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc