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George Duke - The Aura Will Prevail CD (album) cover


George Duke

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars George Duke's followup to the fantastic "I Love The Blues - She Heard My Cry" is good, but something of a letdown after such a great album. There is mostly good, but not great seventies fusion an the album. And two Frank Zappa songs, Echidna's Arf (in my opinion, one of Zappa's greatest compositions), and Uncle Remus, the latter co-written by Duke with Zappa - we will discuss these later.

The best track here is Floop De Loop, the only original song on the album with a lot of energy. The rest of the songs, while nice, are venturing toward what fusion had become by the eighties, radio friendly easy listening. That trend is mostly apparent in the vocal songs, where Duke croons his bland love lyrics in his cheesy falsetto.

Echidna's Arf starts out amazingly, played faster than I've ever heard it (even by Dweezil's band). It sounds like it's going to be amazing. But then, after the opening section, Duke veers it into a pastiche of spacy synthesizer noises, and never comes back to finish the song. What gives?

His version of Uncle Remus is slower than the "Apostrophe'" recording, and much smoother. While is lacks Zappa's crisp arrangement, I like this version.

So there is enough good music to make this a three star album, It has too many flaw to rate it any higher.

Report this review (#307678)
Posted Sunday, October 31, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars By the middle of the decade, George Duke was churning out albums at a frenetic pace, this one recorded in early 75 and released a few months after the preceding I Love the Blues album. The least we can say is that this album's artwork and title inspire more confidence in the musical content inside, even if the album is not intrinsically superior in quality than its predecessor. From that Remaining Aura, Duke chose to retain much less personnel for this album's sessions, relying on the now-faithful Chancler, the returning Moreira (two tracks) and having Alphonso Johnson (ex-Weather report) on bass.

After a "normal" jr/f opening Dawn track, follows an atrociously-sung and strange For Love track, not totally devoid of interest, but the slow-fusion Foosh lacks fire and if Floop De Loop (George, who was your dealer at the time??) returns to the Beck/Hammer-sounding (but guitar-less) realm, this is starting to sound like just another Duke fusion album, with its already heard composition a flogged-to-death formula, but it ends up being one of my faves of the present album.

On the flipside, Malibu is not exactly successful Latino-fusion track with its cheesy vocals and no-less kitschy synth sounds (by this time, Duke had bought a Moog, but was obviously still a rookie with it), and Fools is an atrocious love ballad that could've fit on a Barry White album. The short spacey Echidna's Arf makes a calm intro to the sickeningly over-sweetish cover of Zappa's Uncle Remus, which again breaks the album's continuity. The closing outro of The Aura again returns to the usual funky fusion of his.

Aura is to be approached with caution, because there are a few objectionable tunes that breaks the album's overall fusion cohesiveness, but then again these tracks are numerous enough to start questioning if this album "fusion" label is the correct one. I wonder if George would gathered the JR/F tracks on one side and glued the other weirdies together on the flipside might not have been wiser choice, than this strange mix and un-match mess.

Report this review (#402109)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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