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.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Hall & Oates - Voices (1980)


I couldn't begin to tell you why, but while I enjoyed H&O singles on the radio and bought some 45s, I never purchased one of their albums in the '80s.  My mistake, because I woulda been all over this perfectly crafted pop music as a teenager.  The duo is often described as "blue eyed soul" but there's more new wave-ish pop tunes than soulful crooning on this album.  The group's first self-produced album, it marked a change in their sound and created momentum to greater chart success that soon followed. Four of the album's eleven tracks reached the top 40 and the album stayed on the Billboard Top 200 chart for 100 weeks.  The liner notes on my 2004 re-release are good and very thorough.

Congratulations to the duo on their recent addition to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, artfully inducted by none other than Questlove.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #17
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #24

Tracks:  My favorite tracks are Kiss On My List (with its near-perfect guitar solo that chooses melody over technique) and the cover of You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. Also good is the lead track, How Does It Feel To Be Back and Big Kids. While there's obvious filler (e.g., Hard To Be In Love With You, Africa), it's harmless enough that you don't have to skip it.  And while this original version of Everytime You Go Away [sic] is ten times better than Paul Young's cover, Young has ruined the song for me, so I have to skip it.  Sorry, Daryl - it's not you, it's Paul.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  This disc is a relatively recent purchase out of a local store's clearance bin.  I had the 45 for You Make My Dreams b/w Gotta Lotta Nerve (Perfect Perfect).  When the b-side played on this CD (track 6) for the first listen, I was able to sing right along even though I hadn't heard that song in over 30 years.  I must have listened to that 45 more than I remember.

When You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling was receiving regular radio play, I was a scrawny high school freshman, but that didn't stop me from singing the song to women as I tried to get them to notice.  It didn't help that my cracking voice was changing at that time.  Top Gun's Maverick may have been more successful with his bar version, but I thought of the idea 6 years before he hit the screens.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Big Bam Boom (1984)

5 comments:

  1. It's interesting to me how two of the most overplayed radio songs of all time, "You Make My Dreams" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," manage to sound fresh when they're heard within the context of this record. And "How Does It Feel to Be Back" (which was the lead single, although nobody remembers that now) remains H&O's Great Lost Classic.

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    1. We are in agreement on all counts, my friend.

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    2. One of the many disappointments at this year's Rock Hall Of Fame ceremony was bout-damn-time inductees Hall & Oates only playing two songs, even if one of them was "You Make My Dreams".

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  2. Mark, like you I was a fan of the singles in the 80's and picked up the whole album much later. I definitely enjoy it as well. Martin's View: Hall and Oates - Voices

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  3. After my freshman year of high school, Dad got his orders and moved the whole family from the Midwest to the Southwest by way of a long detour through Orlando. I had foolishly packed up all of my taped off the radio cassettes and had never bought any pre-recorded cassettes, so the first leg of the trip saw me sitting in protest with the orange-foamed earpieces of my Walkman-like headphones covering my ears, broadcasting nothing but silence. We stopped somewhere on the second day out and I begged my folks for $20 to buy just three cassettes that I could listen to for the rest of the trip, fourteen days total counting stops at Disneyworld and visiting relatives in Texas. I snagged J. Geils-Freeze Frame, Moody Blues-Long DIstance Voyager and Hall & Oates-Voices. I listened to them non-stop or least until batteries ran out and we could stop and buy more. As a result, I know these albums inside and out, through and through and love every minute of them without exception.

    When we finally got to the city I still call home thirty-three years later, Dad found out there was a thirty day wait for base housing so we set up camp east of the city at a campground behind the world-famous Triple T Truck Stop. During the long commute to and from school each day, I would play Geils and the Moodys but every chance I got, I would lay under the starry skies after the fire had been put out and every one had gone to bed in the tent. The soundtrack to those lazy star gazing nights was always Voices so as bright and sunshiney as the music is, the album will always be a night album for me.

    We camped there for the full thirty days and I will likely never ever camp again. But I'll always hear Voices.

    RE: "How Does It Feel to Be Back" being the duo's Great Lost Classic.
    It's a great song I agree without reservation but I have to hang that particular designation on 1977's "Back Together Again", their most Philly Soul-sounding single. When was the last time you heard that gem?

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