Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quincy Jones - Back On the Block (1989)

Note: this release was originally purchased as a cassette tape, later replaced by a CD.

Wow. Q assembeled one helluva group of musicians here, including Ray Charles, Joe Zawinul, Chaka Khan, Take 6, Bobby McFerrin, Miles Davis, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Barry White, and on and on. Also, Jones was one of the first A-list musicians to fully recognize rap as a viable music genre, so this album also includes rappers Ice-T, Kool Moe Dee, Big Daddy Kane, and Melle Mel. Surprisingly, no Michael Jackson. The music is a mix of hip-hop, pop, world music, R&B and may be the first attempt to link rap to jazz. Unfortunately, the production (admittedly cutting edge at the time) hasn't aged well, so this album hasn't had the staying power that some of Q's other albums have. I really don't want to see musician credits include "Kick and Snare Sound" - what does that even mean? Even the real horns and bass are produced to sound like synths. Still, in 1989, this was commonplace in the market. Illustrating that fact, this album won seven Grammy awards including Album Of The Year.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #9
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #1 (12 weeks)  

Tracks: Nothing I'd rip to iTunes, but at the time of the album's release, I liked the tittle track, Wee B Dooinit, Setembro, and the covers of Weather Report's Birdland and The Brothers Johnson's I'll Be Good To You. For me, the Birdland cover is the highlight of the disc even with its overproduced synth sound. I hadn't heard these tunes in a while, so it was fun to hear them again. After watching Law & Order: SVU for years, it's now amusing to hear Ice-T rap. Obviously, this CD doesn't get much play around here these days.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I'm reminded of the few months, immediately after our wedding, that my wife and I lived in the Dallas area.

Previously revisited for the blog:
The Dude (1981)
Explores the Music of Henry Mancini (1968)

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