Tuesday, 16 September 2014

"Dear Mr. Fantasy: The Jim Capaldi Story" by JIM CAPALDI - A Review Of The 2011 Universal/Island 4CD Box Set Remasters...

“…All These Years…”

Compiled with love and care by his wife Aninha Capaldi and friends/admirers Paul Minkkinen and Daryl Easlea – “Dear Mr. Fantasy: The Jim Capaldi Story” was released June 2011 on Universal/Island 5333997 (Barcode 600753339978) as a 4CD Book Set spanning his entire musical career. 67-Tracks include early songs with The Hellions, Revolution and Deep Feeling – then onto his stay with TRAFFIC and collaborations with PAUL KOSSOFF of FREE, GEORGE HARRSION, DAVE MASON of TRAFFIC and ERIC CLAPTON. It includes 11 Previously Unreleased songs and breaks down as follows…

Disc 1 (75:53 minutes):
1. Dreaming Of You – THE HELLIONS (1964 UK 7” Single on Piccadilly 7N 35213, A-side)
2. Hallelujah – REVOLUTION (1966 UK 7” single on Piccadilly 7N 35298, A-side)
3. Pretty Colours – DEEP FEELING (Autumn 1966 recording made in London)
4. Dealer – TRAFFIC
5. Mr. Fantasy – TRAFFIC (4 and 5 from their debut album “Mr. Fantasy”, 1967 on Island ILPS 9061)
6. Light Up Or Leave Me Alone – TRAFFIC
7. Rock And Roll Stew – TRAFFIC (6 and 7 from the LP “Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys”, 1971 on Island ILPS 9180)
8. 40,000 Headmen – TRAFFIC (Previously Unreleased Version)
9. Pearly Queen (Live) – ERIC CLAPTON & FRIENDS (from “Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert”, 1973 LP on RSO 2394 116)
10. Tricky Dicky Rides Again – JIM CAPALDI (1973 UK 7” single on Island WIP 6165, features PAUL KOSSOFF of FREE on Guitar. Later appeared as “Dirty Business” on JC’s “Contender” album)
11. Oh How We Danced
12. Eve
13. Don’t Be A Hero
14. Open Your Heart
15. How Much Can A Man Really Take (11 to 15 are from his debut solo LP “Oh How We Danced”, 1972 on Island ILPS 9187)
16. Low Rider
17. Whale Meat Again (16 and 17 are from his 2nd LP ‘Whale Meat Again”, 1974 on Island ILPS 9254)

Disc 2 (78:07 minutes):
1. It’s All Up To You
2. Love Hurts
3. Short Cut Draw Blood
4. Boy With A Problem
5. Seagull (1 to 5 from his 3rd LP “Short Cut Draw Blood”, 1975 on Island ILPS 9336)
6. You And Me – JIM CAPALDI with PAUL KOSSOFF and The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (first appeared on the “Koss” double-album anthology in 1977 – first appearance on CD here)
7. Game Of Love
8. Elixir Of Life (7 and 8 from the LP “The Contender”, 1978 on Polydor 2383 490)
9. Shoe Shine (Disco Mix) – (a UK 12” Promo Remix on Polydor 2141 164 issued in 1979. Is a track on the “Electric Nights” LP)
10. Hotel Blues
11. Tabitha
12. Electric Nights
13. Wild Geese (10 to 13 are from the LP “Electric Nights”, 1979 on Polydor 2383 534)
14. Every Man Must March To The Beat Of His Own Drum
15. Man With No Country
16. Going Home (14 to 16 are from the LP “The Sweet Smell Of Success”, 1980 on Carrere CAL 116)

Disc 3 (80:33 minutes):
1. Let The Thunder Cry
2. Favella Music
3. Child In the Storm
4. Warm
5. Old Photographs
6. We Don’t Need (1 to 6 are from the LP “Let The Thunder Cry”, 1981 on Carrere CAL 123)
7. Tonight You’re Mine
8. Living On The Edge
9. That’s Love
10. Gifts Of Unknown Things (7 to 10 are from the LP “Fierce Heart”, 1983 on WEA Records U 0057 in the UK/Europe - Atlantic 80059-1 in the USA)
11. Lost Inside Your Love
12. Tales Of Power
13. Warriors Of Love (11 to 13 from the LP “One Man Mission”, 1984 on WEA Records 251350-1
14. Something So Strong
15. Oh Lord, Why Lord
16. Love Used To Be A Friend Of Mine
17. Some Come Running (14 to 17 are from the LP “Some Come Running”, 1988 on Island 259 439
18. Living On The Outside (on the CD album “Living On The Outside”, 2001 on SPV Records 085-72512)

Disc 4 (76:38 minutes):
1. Standing In My Light
2. Anna Julia
3. Love You ‘Til The Day I Die (1 to 3 are on the CD album “Living On The Outside”, 2001 on SPV Records 085-72512)
4. State Of Grace (Demo) (from the 1994 TRAFFIC reunion album sessions for “Far From Home” – Previously Unreleased)
5. Tallulah (Demo) (written for his daughter and was one of his last recordings - Previously Unreleased)
6. Humanity (Just Another Checkpoint) (Demo) – Recorded sometime in the 2000s - Previously Unreleased
7. Bright Fighter (from the CD album “Poor Boy Blue”, 2004 on SPV Records 085-70412)
8. Strange Bird (Demo) (no dates provided) - Previously Unreleased
9. How Do I Get To Heaven (Demo) - Previously Unreleased
10. Love’s Got A Hold On Me (with GEORGE HARRISON) (Demo prepared for this Box set) - Previously Unreleased
11. Song For George [aka George’s Song] (Demo) – written after his friend Harrison had passed - Previously Unreleased
12. The Time Of Cholera (Demo)
13. Invaders Of The Heart (Demo) (12 and 13 recorded sometime in the 2000s – Both Previously Unreleased)
14. Getting Stronger (from the CD album “Poor Boy Blue”, 2004 on SPV Records 085-70412)
15. Love Will Keep Us Alive (Live) – DAVE MASON and JIM CAPALDI (from the album “Live 40,000 Headmen Tour”, 1999 on Receiver Records RRCD 270 Z)
16. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Live) – TRAFFIC (recorded at the rehearsals for Traffic’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004 - Previously Unreleased)

The presentation is first class – the pasted-in chunky booklet is crammed with period colour photos, album covers, music press adverts, concert posters, facsimiles of rare Island singles, snaps of him with pals George Harrison and Eric Clapton, hand-written lyrics – and a track-by-track breakdown on each entry.

But for me the real news comes with the fantastic sound – tapes transferred, remastered and mulled over by two names familiar to anyone whose bought the Polydor, Island, Vertigo or Deram 3CD mini box sets – MARK POWELL and PASCHAL BYRNE. Their work here is exemplary – each track exuding warmth and clarity (I’d even swear these TRAFFIC remasters are better than what’s gone before).

Highlights for me are the Funky-Rock of “Low Rider” (not the War tune) and the echoed menace of the title track from “Whale Meat Again”. His writing became far more sophisticated by 1975 – “It’s All Up To You” and “Boy With A Problem” while his chipper cover of “Love Hurts” (first brought to us by The Everly Brothers) saw him break the Top 5 in October 1975. The “You And Me” track from 1977’s “Koss” double is a gem here featuring Kossoff in sly form (the song was later reworked by Capaldi as “The Contender”). The Disco Mix of “Shoe Shine” doesn’t come over as hideous as its title sounds – it funky and has clever synth runs and guitar breaks. The ache in “Every Man Must March To The Sound Of His Own Drum” is real and defies its slick Eighties production. Of the previously unreleased stuff his “Song For George” is very Traveling Wilburys and the song “Tallulah” for his daughter is very pretty. The ‘loose’ “Dear Mr. Fantasy” rehearsal in 2004 that ends Disc 4 is a nine-minute blast – beautifully recorded and played with Winwood sounding stunning. It’s a nice way to bring the whole box set full circle.

Capaldi never had the best of voices or the song-writing chops of say Steve Winwood or even Dave Mason – but there’s much on here to love. And with that top notch sound and trawl of desirable rarities – a real fan pleaser…

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