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Jack Bruce - Songs For A Tailor CD (album) cover

SONGS FOR A TAILOR

Jack Bruce

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.62 | 47 ratings

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dreadpirateroberts
4 stars Jack Bruce slips out from under the shadow of Cream.

The first thing you'll notice on Songs for a Tailor is the way Bruce's unmistakable voice propels the album's short songs into a familiar place. At the same time, he has collected a set of songs that have a decidedly 'pop' feel to their rock, or even a 'jazz' feel to their pop. And I don't mean for 'pop' to suggest predictable, as these inventive pop songs offer something unusual and are more thoughtfully arranged than some of Cream's jam-based pieces.

Once again, Pete Brown is at the helm lyrically (often to the album's benefit) and although the Cream connections are not limited to that fact, ('The Clearout' and 'Weird of Hermiston' were demoed during Cream recording sessions) the bulk of this album shows Jack determined to move beyond the Cream sound, and succeeding.

It seems he wanted to release something more genre-blurring than either Cream or the album that his jazz combo had just recorded 'Things We Like', and so Songs For a Tailor was slotted in and released first. Perhaps some of that rushed feeling can be seen in the short, almost 'sketch-like' nature of some pieces, like the still-effective vocal layering of 'Boston Ball Game 1937' or the pastoral then scattered 'To Isengard.'

Other songs are more fully developed, such as the opener. Featuring George Harrison on guitar, 'Never Tell Your Mother She's Out of Tune' is backed by a small horn section and is a bit of a rocker, while the beautiful 'Theme from an Imaginary Western' is a classic. Other songs will stick with you too, like 'Tickets to Waterfalls' and the melancholy 'Weird of Hermiston.'

Songs for a Tailor has a strong first side with a more uneven second half, in an album that well deserves the attention of Jack Bruce and Cream fans, along with those interested in the more progressive or jazzy side of pop. This is an album that showcases Jack on many instruments, perhaps the most notable being piano. It's a key component to the record, and in much of the material on his next few albums too.

It's a four star debut for me. It has a charm that shouldn't be overlooked and while it won't suit every prog fan, it should please fans of the the progressive pop sub-genre,or even some jazz fans, and is essential for fans of Bruce.

dreadpirateroberts | 4/5 |

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