All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

1

Steve Barton: Tall Tales And Alibis

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Like Bob Dylan's Triplicate (Columbia, 2017), Steve Barton's Tall Tales And Alibis recounts a rite of passage in three parts. But even though the once and future member of Translator only assigns specific sub-titles once (in the recording credits), his journey from darkness to light is as explicit as that of the Nobel Laureate's, perhaps even more so, as it transits chronologically through a psychic transformation reflected in the recordings.

Barton takes a literal as well as metaphysical approach in his look at the bounty of new material arising from his move to Oregon. A total of thirty-seven tracks appear here, of which all are originals except for covers of "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and the Rolling Stones' "Dandelion." The first two CD's, 'Star Tonight' and 'Shattered Light,' are virtually solos by the guitarist/vocalist/composer, while a full corps of carefully-selected players (including Barton's Translator bandmates Dave Scheff and Larry Dekker) appear for something of a grand finale on disc three, "Before I Get Too Young."

As evidenced by the darker and often near-whispered "Breath" and "Stare At The Sun Tonight," Steve Barton's exorcising more than a few demons here. The insistent strumming of songs such as "Little Rule Breaker" and "Shadow of the Bride," into which he injects some skewed electric tones that mirror his often exaggerated vocal delivery, insures his liberation, at least to the point he attains a stance more objective (and reflective) than defensive.

Still, as clearly motivated as are cuts like "Levitate the Pentagon," such performances represent tangents from this exposition he's conducting here. "Hey Buster Keaton" is worth preservation because it sounds like something a latter-day lighthearted John Lennon might write, but still might better be left for download from Barton's website, if only for the overall emotional clarity of this expansive work.

The artist clearly wants to be sure he says his peace here, but some more judicious editing might've compressed this seventh solo album of his, particularly since the last compact disc, comprised of the aforementioned ensemble tracks, runs only a little over half an hour; no doubt the co-production of Marvin Etzioni, co-founder of Lone Justice, could shepherd a smooth transition.

Apart from confessional cuts like "I Count the Minutes" and "Haunt Me Tonight," Steve Barton's most effective statements otherwise arrive indirectly in the form of "She Is The Girl" (notably part of his current live sets) and, not surprisingly, "Sweet Sweet Sad Girl:" both of which benefit from the live-in-the-studio recording approach that brings an edgy spontaneity to those performances.

The object of this man's affection may or may not be the source of inspiration for tunes like "Now That We Have Tomorrow" or the conflicting feelings rendered through David Alicke's saxophone on "Guilty of Innocence," but it hardly matters; at least when it comes to the high-profile mastering of Bernie Grundman (and only slightly less so the mixing of Sheldon Gomberg), the multi-textured sound quality vividly mirrors the mixed emotions that Steve Barton proffers in largely penetrating fashion on Tall Tales And Alibis.

Track Listing: CD 1 Album: One: Star Tonight; How Can I Believe?; Little Rule Breaker; Shadow of the Bride; I Only Want To Be Your Clown; Evolution; When She's Lost Your Mind; Dawn; Light Of An Eclipse; That Picture Of You; Levitate The Pentagon; Vacantville; Hey Buster Keaton; You're A Star Tonight. CD 2: Shattered Light: Breath; Northwest Girl; From The Rain; I'll Still Be Loving You; Unalone; I Count The Minutes; Haunt Me Tonight; Tearing Out The Roses; In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning; Don't Think It Over; Untie Your Blindfold; Stare At The Sun Tonight. CD 3, Album Three: Before I Get Too Young; Wake Up Roses; Little Strange One; She Is The Girl; Guilty of Innocence; Gimme Your Hand; The Day My Baby Went Blind; Sweet Sweet Sad Girl; Where Did I Go Wrong; Before I Get Too Young; Now That We Have Tomorrow; Dandelion; I Fly.

Personnel: Steve Barton: vocals, guitars, piano, harmonica; percussion; Marvin Etzioni: guitar, piano, background vocals; Willie Aron: guitar; keyboards; background vocals; Derrick Anderson: bass, background vocals; Larry Dekker: bass; Pete Thomas: drums; Nelson Bragg: percussion, background vocals; David Ralicke: saxophone; Doug Wiesleman: horns and horn arrangements.

Title: Tall Tales And Alibis | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Sleepless Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Beheaded Totem CD/LP/Track Review
Beheaded Totem
by James Fleming
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Super Mood CD/LP/Track Review
Super Mood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2018
Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "Leading The British Invasion" CD/LP/Track Review Leading The British Invasion
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 31, 2017
Read "Upscale Madhouse" CD/LP/Track Review Upscale Madhouse
by Paul Naser
Published: July 11, 2018
Read "Steamdome" CD/LP/Track Review Steamdome
by Chris May
Published: June 13, 2018
Read "Ravensburg" CD/LP/Track Review Ravensburg
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "UpRoot" CD/LP/Track Review UpRoot
by John Sharpe
Published: May 4, 2018
Read "Heart Of Brazil" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Of Brazil
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 14, 2018