C7S9CD16. We have all been there haven’t we, you buy an album play it and after playing it a couple of times it’s left to gather dust until we hear the artists name mentioned somewhere, or a track turns up on a soundtrack and we think, ‘I’ve got that album’ and you dig it out to find that the albums far better than you actually thought. I’m not sure why this is, maybe your tastes change, after all I have been buying music for over 30 years, or like me you have far too much music to give all your albums the attention they deserve but this album is one of those for me.
This is why I started this blog in January, picking 3 of my CD’s at random to listen to each week forcing myself to roll with the numbers and listen to albums that I may not have picked if given the choice. This is an album I have always wanted to like more than I do and so when @amcyoung picked the numbers for it I honestly thought great I’ll give it another go. Well I have to say I don’t hate this album it has moments of brilliance, but it just doesn’t quite work for me even after all these years. (It was released in 1995)
I bought this album along with Lizz Wright’s Dreaming Wide Awake, both reviews seems very similar, and although I now own all of Lizz Wright’s albums I only have this album by Cassandra Wilson and that tells me a lot, but at the time I thought I was taking a chance with the Wright album and my expectation wad I would love the Wilson album. Music is fickle sometimes and throws up surprises and that’s why I love it so much.
On paper Wilson’s album sounds great, a mix of original songs and classic covers along with one or two surprising reworks, Love Is Blindness by U2, and Last Train To Clarksville made famous by The Monkees all given a jazz country makeover by Wilson who has an amazing voice. It’s the arrangements at times that I don’t like and it’s purely a matter of taste, they lean too much to the Jazz side of things for me and I guess that’s why I struggle with the album.
The album opens with Strange Fruit a song made famous by Billie Holiday and describing the hanging of African Americans slaves in the Deep South in the 1930’s. I have always struggled to listen to this song whoever sings it. The lyrics are so descriptive it devastates me every time. Once past this track we hit U2’s Love Is Blindness which real works paired down to its bare bones. Last Train to Clarksville and a rework of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon are also good, but I guess the problem is I’m always drawn to the original versions when listening to this album rather than being pulled into this album.
There is nothing wrong with this album I just have too many other albums I would pick before playing this one.