|Joseph Arthur — The Ballad Of Boogie Christ (2013)|
Joseph Arthur — The Ballad Of Boogie Christ
≡ "With the music business being what it is nowadays, unless you break out big or become a license darling, there are precious few alternatives to fund one’s work. Some say it’s sad that it has come to this but I’m optimistic that new ways of doing things can lead to new forms of creativity and a smaller world community for artists to get to know their fans or for fans to become a more vital part in the process of artists creating their diamonds." — Joseph Arthur
Birth name: Joseph Arthur
Origin: Akron, Ohio, United States
Genres: Alternative rock, folk rock
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, harmonica, bass
Album release: June 11th, 2013
Record Label: Lonely Astronaut
01. Currency Of Love (3:15)
02. Saint Of Impossible Causes (4:32)
03. The Ballad Of Boogie Christ (4:14)
04. I Used To Know How To Walk On Water (4:47)
05. Wait For Your Lights (3:12)
06. I Miss The Zoo (4:53)
07. It's OK To Be Young — Gone (3:18)
08. Still Life Honey Rose (4:23)
09. Black Flowers (2:41)
10. King Of Cleveland (4:33)
11. Famous Friends Along The Coast (5:41)
12. All The Old Heroes (7:13)
Album moods: -Energetic-Freewheeling-Cathartic-Literate-Passionate-Searching-Yearning-Earnest-Bravado-Earthy-Volatile-Wistful-Ambitious-Boisterous-Brassy-Dramatic-Enigmatic-Euphoric-Exciting-Fiery-Gutsy-Irreverent-Joyous-Lush-Lyrical-Narcotic-Narrative-Nostalgic-Optimistic-Ornate-Poignant-Powerful-Provocative-Quirky-Spiritual-Tuneful-Uncompromising
• Ed Ackerson Engineer
• Joseph Arthur Artwork, Bass, Composer, Drums, Engineer, Guitar, Keyboards, Mixing, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Sitar, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
• Neal Avron Mixing
• René Bolduc Cover Photo
• Paul Cantelon Composer, Piano, Violin
• Sam Cohen Guitar
• Matthew Cullen Engineer
• John Flaugher Bass
• Sheldon Gomberg Engineer
• Jessy Greene Violin
• Ben Harper Slide Guitar, Vocals (Background)
• Seth Atkins Horan Engineer
• Garth Hudson Keyboards, Piano
• David Immerglück Guitar
• Rami Jaffee Organ
• John 'Scrapper' Sneider Flugelhorn, Horn Arrangements, Trumpet
• Kraig Jarret Johnson Bass, Guitar, Vocals (Background)
• Jim Keltner Drums, Percussion
• Fred Kevorkian Mastering
• James King Horn
• Juliette Lewis Vocals (Background)
• Bill Mims Engineer
• Jenni Muldaur Vocals (Background)
• Catherine Popper Bass
• Chris Seefried Guitar, Piano, Producer, Strings, Vocals (Background)
• Kenny Siegal Engineer, Producer
• Eric Spring Engineer
• Sebastian Steinberg Bass
• Aaron Sterling Drums
• Damara Stolfo Vocals (Background)
• Joan Wasser Violin, Vocals (Background)
• C.C. White Vocals (Background)
• Greg Wiz Drums, Percussion
Writing and composition:
≡ The Ballad of Boogie Christ is a loose concept album, based on Arthur's life. Regarding the album's narrative, Arthur noted, "I don't know that there's a beginning, middle and end to the story, but there are definitely experiences, situations and perspectives that point in those directions. I wanted to let the listener fill in some of the blanks without telling the whole story in a straight-ahead way." Arthur elaborated, "I've heard David Bowie talk about how Ziggy Stardust and some other records were the beginnings of screenplays that he just never finished. I could really see this becoming something deeper and bigger than just an album. Chuck Prophet reminded me that there's always the Great American Novel, and that really stuck in my head about Boogie Christ. That's what I've been wanting to achieve with this album. He encouraged me that it was okay to dream big."
Instruments and loops:
≡ Of the guitars that Joseph utilizes, his primary acoustic guitar is an Irish Lowden 012C. Some of Joseph's other guitars include a Garrison G-50-CE, a custom-painted Godin Kingpin CWII, a Gibson ES-335, and a '70s Fender Strat.
≡ To incorporate his looping techniques, Arthur uses a myriad of rackmounted units of the Lexicon JamMan. He plays his guitars through an impressive floor of effects pedals. When performing solo live, he often records a sample of guitar, percussion, or vocals which he can then loop periodically throughout a song, allowing him to perform verses with the added effect of harmonizing with himself.
≡ The Ballad of Boogie Christ is Joseph Arthur's 10th full length studio album recorded over several years and including 19 songs stretched over two records. It is a concept album which is like the great American novel of rock n roll and unlike anything you've heard before or will likely hear again. You've wondered, where is the music of soul and substance that tells stories and pushes lyrical boundaries? HERE IT IS!!
Review by Thom Jurek (Editor rating: ****)
≡ "From the beginning, and even on his best work, there has always been something haphazard about Joseph Arthur‘s recordings. He’s always tried so hard to capture the heat of the moment in the studio, that he can get sloppy, thus blunting impact The Ballad of Boogie Christ changes that. A successful crowd-funding drive netted him a big budget and he spent it getting it right. Arthur calls this a “psychedelic soul record,” about seeking, finding, and losing redemption. Recorded in four different studios from New York to Minneapolis to L.A., it features a star-studded cast including Joan Wasserman, film composer Paul Cantelon, Garth Hudson, Jim Keltner, Cynthia Popper, Juliette Lewis, Ben Harper, and more. Opening track “The Currency of Love,” with its piano, bass, drums, strings, and electric guitar, plays an early rock & roll vamp as doo wop choruses support a lead vocal that’s urgent, yet just campy enough to sound glam. “The Saint of Impossible Causes” weaves guitars and mandolins with crunchy beats; it’s a first-person expression of need and hope, sung by someone who’s lost everything. Arthur plays a mean sitar to boot. The title track, a fast rock & roll waltz, is a poignant observance about Jesus walking the earth in the 21st century. A hip, soulful horn chart and a gospel chorus provided by Wasserman and Jenni Muldaur send it over the top. The are only two “psychedelic soul” tracks here. The first is the furious “Black Flowers,” with Popper’s bass fueling the bottom end, appended by fiery percussion and punchy horns, as phase effects rampaging arund the lead and backing chorus vocals (Muldaur and C.C. White). “It’s OK to Be Young/Gone,” commences as a rock anthem and contains a chorus reminiscent of the Rolling Stones’ in “I’m a Fool to Cry.” There are studio versions of three songs that have been part of Arthur’s stage show for years. ≡ The poem “I Miss the Zoo” is a paean to addiction’s simplicity; the nostalgic longing for the rush and the seeming illumination its chaos brings; it’s gorgeously illustrated by acoustic guitars, piano, and organ. Likewise, “Famous Friends Along the Coast” and the skeletal “All the Old Heroes” are given moree acoustic yet empathic treatments that illustrate the crafted poetry in Arthur’s lyrics. The former features a lithe slide guitar solo by Harper and the latter Keltner’s intuitive rock-solid drumming. To say that The Ballad of Boogie Christ is inspired is an understatement. It was written, performed, cut, and mixed with great care, and as such delivers Arthur’s creative vision with abundant emotional power."
By Jordan Zivitz (Rating: 4 stars out of 5)
≡ Joseph Arthur has spent stretches of his career in solitary confinement, and isn’t one to keep his ambitions on a tight leash, so a tripped-out collection of heavy soul featuring an extended cast could have been gleefully indulgent. Instead, Arthur has rarely been more focused. The psychedelia is for disciplined colour, not for splatter-painting, and the guests — including Garth Hudson, Jim Keltner, Ben Harper and more than a dozen others — are here for tasteful depth, not for stunt casting or excess for excess’s sake. The welcome shock of the new – notably a staggering soul-revue holler in Currency of Love — is balanced by the warm familiarity of some long-standing staples from the live show. Famous Friends Along the Coast and All the Old Heroes’ floods of transcendent imagery are at home on Arthur’s most lyrically provocative album, while a new take on the beat-poetry centrepiece I Miss the Zoo — a nocturnal soliloquy on last year’s one-man tour de force Redemption City, a sentimental triumph here — is a reminder that Arthur is rarely content to stay in one place for long. Let’s enjoy his Technicolor phase while it lasts.
Podworthy: Famous Friends Along the Coast
By Mr Kinski's Music Shack
≡ Joseph Arthur’s 10th studio album was originally available via Pledgemusic, and will be released more widely via Lonely Astronaut Records on June 11 2013.
≡ Album opener Currency of Love is a 50′s sounding track, that would not sound out of place in a David Lynch movie or as a song on a long-lost Roy Orbison album.
≡ Saint of Impossible Causes has an incredibly addictive and uplifting chorus, and a move forward to the 1960′s with the sitars on the verses.
≡ The title track is very New York sounding, complete with Lou Reed Transformer referencing backing vocals and is an essay on a modern-day messiah.
≡ “Christ would love hip-hop, metal and soul”
≡ What is noticeable on this album is the more expansive backing than recent Arthur releases – lush strings, horn sections and a real widescreen production are very much the order of the day. The album’s first ballad I Used to Know How To Walk on Water is an album highlight, with a vibrant, deep bassline and jazzy piano and drums.
≡ Wait for Your Lights is simply classic Joseph Arthur. A tight, simple beat and descending piano lines, Wait for your Lights is an instant favourite and one of the best tracks on the album.
≡ I Miss the Zoo is a more fully-realised take of the track that appeared on 2012′s Redemption City. An brutally honest tale of missing the high’s of a former lifestyle, to quote the lyrics “Even tho life is much better now”. A simple backing of heavily pounded acoustic guitar, bass, piano and organ let the powerful lyrics and increasingly impassioned vocal tell the story.
≡ “I miss salvation in syringes and angels of mercy, in blooms of smoke numbing rain”
≡ It’s OK to Be Young / Gone would not have sounded out-of-place on my favourite Joseph Arthur album, Our Shadows Will Remain. Some lovely Frippesque guitar textures layer this song.
Still Life Honey Rose has a scent of the desert, and a real late 70′s Fleetwood Mac vibe. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album.
≡ Black Flowers is the shortest song in the collection, and zips along at a furious pace, with some crazy percussion under-pinning the one-line chorus, and what sounds like Herb Alpert smuggling his Tijuana Brass into the studio towards the end of the song King of Cleveland reminds me a little of the mood of Arcade Fire‘s The Suburbs album – an America long-gone, and the song seems to point to a personal history in Ohio that is also consigned to memory.
≡ “And she cut you”
≡ Album closer All the Old Heroes is the longest track on the album, clocking in at just over 7 minutes, and appears to be another of the albums songs about escaping addiction.
≡ “All the old heroes are like children to me now. As I come to burn your shame away, without knowing exactly how.”
≡ The Ballad of Boogie Christ was apparently put together over a period of 10 years, in between other album releases and with a mixture of old and new songs recorded with a wide cast of musicians in a variety of studios across America. Yet surprisingly for such a potentially haphazard collection of songs and styles, the album comes across as Arthur’s most focused and coherent release to date, and it may well be the album that finally leads to greater recognition beyond his existing audience.
≡ Big City Secrets (1997)
≡ Come to Where I'm From (2000)
≡ Redemption's Son (2002)
≡ Our Shadows Will Remain (2004)
≡ Nuclear Daydream (2006)
≡ Let's Just Be (2007) (with The Lonely Astronauts)
≡ Temporary People (2008) (with The Lonely Astronauts)
≡ The Graduation Ceremony (2011)
≡ Redemption City (2012)
≡ The Ballad of Boogie Christ (2013)
≡ Cut and Blind (August 1996)
≡ Vacancy (May 11, 1999)
≡ Junkyard Hearts I (February 15, 2002)
≡ Junkyard Hearts II (February 28, 2002)
≡ Junkyard Hearts III (March 15, 2002)
≡ Junkyard Hearts IV (March 28, 2002)
≡ And the Thieves Are Gone (December 7, 2004)
≡ Could We Survive (March 18, 2008)
≡ Crazy Rain (April 15, 2008)
≡ Vagabond Skies (June 10, 2008)
≡ Foreign Girls (July 8, 2008)
≡ Conan (2011) ("Father's Son")
≡ Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2010) ("Father's Son")
≡ Numb3rs (2009) ("Killer's Knife")
≡ Hung (2009) ("Walk Away")
≡ House (2008) ("Could We Survive")
≡ True Blood (2008) ("Stumble and Pain")
≡ Scrubs (2006) ("In the Sun")
≡ The O.C. (2003) ("Honey And The Moon")
≡ Wasted (2002) ("In the Sun")
≡ The L Word ("In The Sun")
≡ Shrek 2 (2004) ("You're So True")
≡ Saved! (2004) ("In the Sun")
≡ American Pie 3 (2003) ("Honey and the Moon")
≡ The Bourne Identity (2002) ("In the Sun")
≡ Shallow Hal (2001) ("Chemical")
≡ The Bourne Identity (1999) ("Porcupine")
≡ Bone Collector (1999) ("Bed of nails")
≡ Hell's Kitchen (1998) ("Invisible Hands", "Lost Gypsy Weapon", "Eyes on My Back", "Pictures of Life", "Cinderella Under Glass", "Big City Secret", "Good About Me", "Crying Like a Man", "Porcupine") © Joseph Arthur performing with Fistful of Mercy on November 9, 2010 in Seattle Washington. ("Fistful of Mercy" is a trio made of Arthur, Ben Harper, and Dhani Harrison
Date: 9 November 2010 / Author: Susan Beals
|Joseph Arthur — The Ballad Of Boogie Christ (2013)|
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