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    The Computer Audiophile

    Easily My Album Of The Year

    I know, it's only September, and I'm announcing my album of the year. That, plus the fact I don't always give out awards, make this "album of the year" even better. This album came out September 3, 2021 and I've listened to it nearly nonstop ever since. Heck, it's Sunday and I couldn't even wait for the week to start before posting this article. 

     

    Lady Blackbird's debut album called Black Acid Soul is easily my album of the year. I love the music, her voice, the emotion put into the music, and absolutely everything else about the album. Just press play on this one and you'll thank me later. Seriously, there isn't a track that I skip. 

     

    The album is available from all the streaming services AND available for purchase via Bandcamp. Here's a link to the Bandcamp page LINK.

     

    Here are the album credits, followed by the YouTube playlist of the album. 

     

    Produced by Chris Seefried 
    A&R by Ross Allen 

    Deron Johnson playing Steinway Baby Grand, Mellotron, Casio Synth 
    Jon Flaugher playing Double Bass 
    Jimmy Paxson playing Drums, Percussion 
    Chris Seefried playing Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar 
    Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews playing Trumpet 

    Recorded and Mixed By Seth Atkins Horan 
    Mastered By Bernie Grundman, At Bernie Grundman Mastering LA CA 
    Recorded at Sunset Sound LA CA 
    Mixing at Gnu Gnome LA CA

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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    Pretty great album Chris. Enjoying it now. I love her voice which reminds me a bit of Buika as well as Simone and Yola. Powerful emotive singing with a delicious voice and recording.

     

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    2 minutes ago, Iving said:

     

    Jazz not my bag really - unless Dixie. I shouldn't have intruded :-)

     

    Perhaps I should not have either. Not hung up on categories, btw, it's all music. 

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    4 hours ago, hopkins said:

    Hope its ok to give a more "nuanced" appreciation of this album. Her singing is really not my cup of tea ! It sounds "strained", and everything is "over sung". This type of singing is unfortunately popular nowadays (see, for example,  Cecile McLorin Salvant). Every track is an opportunity for the singer to demonstrate her prowess, with completely unnecessary shifts in octaves from one note to the other, that really don't add anything and do not convey any real "emotion".

     

    The Bandcamp notes state: "Reflecting influences as varied as Billie Holiday, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner and Chaka Khan...". Really ? The results are very very far from the performance of any of those singers.

     

    Moreover, the music is not terribly exciting...

     

    All this seems like a very well packaged product, but without much substance behind all the hype.

     

    We can't all like the same things 😁

     

     

    After the rave reviews here, I tried listening, stopped after the beginning of the third song... Too imitative, sometimes down to the details, and exaggerated at the same time. 

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    4 hours ago, hopkins said:

    Hope its ok to give a more "nuanced" appreciation of this album. Her singing is really not my cup of tea ! It sounds "strained", and everything is "over sung". This type of singing is unfortunately popular nowadays (see, for example,  Cecile McLorin Salvant). Every track is an opportunity for the singer to demonstrate her prowess, with completely unnecessary shifts in octaves from one note to the other, that really don't add anything and do not convey any real "emotion".

     

    The Bandcamp notes state: "Reflecting influences as varied as Billie Holiday, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner and Chaka Khan...". Really ? The results are very very far from the performance of any of those singers.

     

    Moreover, the music is not terribly exciting...

     

    All this seems like a very well packaged product, but without much substance behind all the hype.

     

    We can't all like the same things 😁

     

     

    Although, with all due respect, this is not really a nuanced critique--it's just a pan with no recognition of it's strengths. 

     

    When you say unfortunately "popular" like Cecile McLorin Salvant, you confuse me--there is no one else on the planet who sings like Cecile.  

     

    "Unnecessary"?  It's art--it's all unnecessary.  But you are right that it's showing off--in the same way that all memorable lead musicians show off.  It's just that almost none of them can jump octaves with their voices as if they were piano keys.

     

    Perfectly fine for this to not be your cup of tea.  But there's no reason to disparage her or the world's greatest living jazz singer

     

     

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    12 minutes ago, PeterG said:

    When you say unfortunately "popular" like Cecile McLorin Salvant, you confuse me--there is no one else on the planet who sings like Cecile

     

    I am confused as well -  by McLorin's popularity and critical acclaim. I guess those who cannot stand her keep quiet? Like audio reviewers who only review equipment they like 🤣 I personally appreciate reviewers who are not afraid to give negative opinions... 

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    1 hour ago, hopkins said:

     

    No, I got the correct one (https://iamladyblackbird.bandcamp.com/album/black-acid-soul) but my description is maybe a little harsh. Her vocals are less exaggerated on some tracks than others. Ex: I find "It's not that easy" particularly irritating. "Lost and looking" is similar (and also simply applying a "formula"). As for the music, yes I do find it a little "dull", not only taking each track individually, but also as a whole, there is not much variety in the whole album, it is all pretty much the same tempo.

     

    Taking one track as an example - "Lost and Looking" - it is musically very poor (note that the following track is a carbon copy of that one). A few bass notes behind the singing, and then a pretty uninspired piano solo. Once again, I'm not sure what they mean by this on Bandcamp - "music that transcends the jazz scene through which the LA-based artist is rooted..." - but it does not make me want to explore the LA jazz scene 😀

     

    As for the lyrics, I find them very "banal" as well:

     

    I'm lost and lookin' for my baby
    Wonder where my baby can be found
    Lost and lookin' for my baby
    Lord know my baby ain't around
    So, I'm lost and lookin' for my baby
    Wonder where my baby can be found
    Lost and searchin' for my baby
    Lord knows my baby ain't around
    Cry for my baby, cryin' all alone
    Callin' for you, come home, come home
    I'm lost and callin' for my baby
    Baby, won't you please come home, home, home?
    Lost and callin' for my baby
    I need you 'cause I'm all alone

     

    What about the lyrics to "I'tll Never Happen Again" ?

     

    I remember Our first affair 
    All the pain 
    Always rain 
    Around my eyes 
    It'll never happen again 
    It'll never happen again 

    ...

     

    Yawn. Count me out 😝

    “Lost and Looking” is by the great Sam Cooke from his Night Beat album. One of the best songs, from probably the best album of one of America’s best writer of pop songs of all time.

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    3 minutes ago, saturdayboy said:

    “Lost and Looking” is by the great Sam Cooke from his Night Beat album. One of the best songs, from probably the best album of one of America’s best writer of pop songs of all time.

     

    Hey, I did mention that I appreciate R&B. Not enough to know that this was a  Sam Cook song! Thanks for pointing it out and correcting me. I'm sure Sam Cook's version was more inspired. 

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    12 minutes ago, PeterG said:

    When you say unfortunately "popular" like Cecile McLorin Salvant, you confuse me--there is no one else on the planet who sings like Cecile.  

     

    While I'll admit she has an amazing voice... how she uses it and how the music is performed are not to my liking. I only say this to highlight the fact that which artist or music someone likes is 100% subjective and none are better or worse. There are people who actually like Nickelback... As hard as that is for me to comprehend.

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    2 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

    While I'll admit she has an amazing voice... how she uses it and how the music is performed are not to my liking. I only say this to highlight the fact that which artist or music someone likes is 100% subjective and none are better or worse. There are people who actually like Nickelback... As hard as that is for me to comprehend.

    This is a "nuanced" review of Cecile.  Cheers!

     

    But I disagree that "none are better or worse".  You've noted that Cecile is far more skilled that most...and that Nickelback are far less

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    50 minutes ago, hopkins said:

    Sorry, one last post to clarify things. It is easy to confuse technique with artistry. I'm not saying Salvant does not have technique! Here's a glaring contemporary example: Lady Gaga and the great Tony Bennett. I'm sure a lot of people consider Lady Gaga to be a good singer, but she is horrible in this version of "Cheek to Cheek" and destroys the song with her operatic delivery and lack of "swing". It is comical, but in fact sad to see that in his old age Bennett does not have the lucidity to avoid being involved in this. However much I like Lady Gaga, she should back off and show more respect.. 

     

    Cecile has clear influences, such as Ella, but no one else doing what she does, so it baffles me that you could suggest she's not an artist, even if you do not like her.  

     

    Baffled again on why you would reference Tony and Gaga--both have wonderful style, but I have never thought of either for great artistry or technique.  

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    1 hour ago, PeterG said:

    Cecile has clear influences, such as Ella, but no one else doing what she does, so it baffles me that you could suggest she's not an artist, even if you do not like her.  

     

    Technique is not sufficient, and if you do have outstanding abilities you should use them appropriately. 

     

    Take her interpretation of "what a little moonlight can do", which is a massacre, especially when you've heard Billie Holiday's interpretation, because Salvent sings this joyous little melody like she is being tortured. More is less in this case. Her singing is absurd. 

     

     

    She probably heard Sarah Vaughan singing this, for example:

     

     

    But Sarah Vaughan, who possessed incredible technique, did not sing like this TO EVERY SONG! Whereas Salvent (a very pale copy of S.Vaughan) does because that's the only thing she knows how to do, and she thinks it's really meaningful. Sad to see that jazz has become so sterile that such uninspired interpreters can get so much praise. 

     

    Here's a reminder of how Billie Holiday revolutionized singing with that cute little song (among others of course) :

     

     

     

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    2 hours ago, PeterG said:

    But I disagree that "none are better or worse".  You've noted that Cecile is far more skilled that most...and that Nickelback are far less

     

    But, that's because it's only my opinion. I know someone who would vehemently disagree with me and think Nickelback is far superior. That was my point.

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    I'm enjoying it, but it's likely the most bass-heavy recording in my collection.  I had to turn the subwoofer completely off to listen to it at any kind of volume.  This is from the Qobuz version I downloaded this afternoon. 

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    4 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

    While I'll admit she has an amazing voice... how she uses it and how the music is performed are not to my liking.

     

    Saw her live.  Great fun, enjoyed it.  So I'm among her fans (but of course don't mind if anyone else isn't). 🙂

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    1 hour ago, jimx1169 said:

    I'm enjoying it, but it's likely the most bass-heavy recording in my collection.  I had to turn the subwoofer completely off to listen to it at any kind of volume.  This is from the Qobuz version I downloaded this afternoon. 

     

    I love the bass - I think the playing is very tasteful.  Heh, oh well....

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    1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    It’s art, there’s no such thing as appropriate. 

    So Chris are you saying there is no such thing as “bad art” or “bad technique”? Everything is subjective? 

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    1 hour ago, shum3s said:

    So Chris are you saying there is no such thing as “bad art” or “bad technique”? Everything is subjective? 

    Absolutely 100%

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