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Peter Gabriel - Big Blue Ball CD (album) cover

BIG BLUE BALL

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

2.66 | 92 ratings

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Negoba
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This is NOT a Peter Gabriel Album ? but It's Not Bad

BIG BLUE BALL is another of the Peter Gabriel's Real World projects, not a solo album by any means. As most know, Gabriel has been active in promoting world music for nearing 30 years now. In the 80's he coordinated the WOMAD festival, and his work (along with Paul Simon's) were instrumental in the world fusion surge in popularity during the 90's. Gabriel still spends most of his time recording and promoting various world artists, and this disc may have simply been a fundraiser for that effort. BIG BLUE BALL is a record of three collaborative sessions in 1991, 1992, and 1995 at Real World studios covering a huge span of musicians. Strangely, this project was not put in to finished form until 2007 for 2008 release.

There is one good Gabriel song on the album, the opener "Whole Thing." It's fairly typical of the US era, featuring plenty of world percussion along with Gabriel's big studio sound. The melodies are good, and it would have stood up as a nice album track had US had a real follow- up (which many of us would have appreciated in the mid to late 90's).

The rest of the album is a sampler of other bands and Gabriel friends. Karl Wallinger of World Party and the Waterboys actually had a large musical role in the album, and singer Joseph Arthur leads several songs. The variety is quite nice, from African voices and percussion to Middle Eastern tonalities to Celtic flavors. Some of the programming is pretty dated, with the ethno-rap "Jijy" sounding particularly dinosaur-like. Overall, this is a pleasant disc to put in on a drive, seamlessly returning to track one for a continual world beat background music. Unfortunately, none of the songs really blow me away. They are all good, but none are truly excellent aside from the world instrumentation.

It's also very hard to give this much prog cred as it wasn't released until long after these sounds were part of common culture. Even in 1995 when the last session was recorded, listeners already would have been somewhat familiar with these sounds. (Thanks in part to Gabriel's own efforts). I got the disc used and certainly don't feel cheated, but this is a non- essential novelty. 2/5 stars.

Negoba | 2/5 |

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