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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Ponder The Mystery (William Shatner featuring Billy Sherwood) album cover
3.05 | 3 ratings | 1 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Red Shift
2. Where It's Gone... I Don't Know
3. Manhunt
4. Ponder The Mystery
5. So Am I
6. Change
7. Sunset
8. Twilight
9. Rhythm Of The Night
10. Imagine Things
11. Do You See?
12. Deep Down
13. I'm Alright, I Think
14. Where Does Time Go?
15. Alive

Line-up / Musicians

William Shatner / spoken word
Billy Sherwood / vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards, drums

with guests:

Mick Jones
Simon House
Steve Vai
Al Di Meola
Rick Wakeman
Joel Vandroogenbroeck
Edgar Winter
Nik Turner
Vince Gill
Edgar Froese
Robby Krieger
Dave Koz
George Duke
Zoot Horn Rollo

Thanks to SouthSideoftheSky for the addition
and to SouthSideoftheSky for the last updates
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VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Ponder The Mystery (William Shatner featuring Billy Sherwood) ratings distribution

(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (33%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Ponder The Mystery (William Shatner featuring Billy Sherwood) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars Now here's one that is just so out of left field that i just had to check it out. WILLIAM SHATNER has done many things in his long career whether it was playing TV host for Rescue 911, celebrity pitchman for "" in the 90s or for his acting career whether it be the police sergeant on T.J. Hooker, his roles in The Practice, Boston Legal or in the role that every television viewing human being knows so well which landed him international fame in the 60s as James T. Kirk, Captain of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek series.

One of SHATNER's lesser known side careers comes in the form of his unique musical parodies that began way back in 1968 with the release of his first album "The Transformed Man" which includes the only track i've ever pretty much heard from the man in the form of "Spleen / Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" where he displays his ability to take a perfectly good song and butcher it beyond recognition with his exaggerated interpretive reading of the lyrics instead of singing. Little did i know that SHATNER has released several albums over the decades and PONDER THE MYSTERY is actually his 8th! Wow. Who's buying this stuff?

OK. I admit it. I bought this one but only because this one is different. This album goes well beyond the kitsch novelty of simply using spoken word over a well-known pop hit for a startling and contrasting effect. This is in fact a Billy Sherwood (guitarist of Yes from 1997 - 2000 as well as with World Trade, Lodgic, Conspiracy, Circa and The Prog Collective) album under the guise of a WILLIAM SHATNER release. Granted SHATNER does exactly what he does and contributes all the poetic lyrics but everything musical here including the songwriting, sung vocals, drums, bass, guitars and keys are done by Sherwood while there is a whole army of guest musicians on board helping out including another Yes family member Tony Kaye.

Right from the beginning you can tell this is a serious project with state of the art production values and symphonic touches that swirl around and smooth out every little sound and note with careful precision. The music sounds like a beautiful progressive rock world of sophistication on the short instrumental opener "Red Shift" and then suddenly it changes to "Where It's Gone? I Don't Know" where we get a slowed down symphonically accompanied acoustic guitar with Billy Sherwood singing in the background and then without further ado enters the Captain's spoken word poetry which philosophically ponders the nebulous concepts of being lost in life in a seemingly roundabout of causes and effects which becomes joined by the lead guitars of Mick Jones (of Foreigner).

This album comes off very much as a symphonic progressive album in the vein of a Neil Morse album except the lead vocals are spoken instead of sung. Despite the novelty effect in full force this is a seriously complex project with well thought out musical accompaniments that includes a huge host of progressive guest stars roster including Simon House (Hawkwind), Steve Vai, Al Di Meola, Rick Wakeman, Edgar Winter, Nik Turner (Hawkwind), Vince Gill (the country singer), Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream), Robby Krieger (The Doors), Dave Koz (smooth jazz saxophonist), George Duke (Jean-Luc Ponty and Frank Zappa) and Zoot Horn Rollo (Captain Beefheart).

The lyrics are as you would expect, goofy with a pretense of being deeply profound. They are indeed SHATNER's own philosophical take on life laid out in a poetic parade of cynicism, regret as well as shock and awe and displays his stance as a perplexed 82 year old man still trying to work out some of the deepest mysteries of life which adds to the irony that supposedly makes the whole thing ludicrous and humorous in a roundabout way. It is to a certain extent but at a running time of 65:13 tends to wear out its welcome by the end.

This is one of those head scratchers actually where i wonder exactly what the participating parties were expecting. I mean i can't imagine anybody being won over to progressive rock through the novelty spoken-word, uh talents (?), of WILLIAM SHATNER and i certainly can't foresee too many progressive rock aficionados feeling the urge to delve into the kitschy novelty act of WILLIAM SHATNER either. By nature this hybrid product ends up in a strange limbo where no musical act has boldly gone before and arguably should never go again!

My opinion of this one is that it's not as bad as it sounds. The music is actually quite good although the restrained spoken word delivery does keep the energy tamped down to a sizzle instead of ever really letting loose. There was obviously a lot put into this one and nurtured some strange aspect of Billy Sherwood's personality that needed to be expressed. After all is said and done i can't say i regret buying this album. The music is very intricate and well suited for the poetic content however i will not be delving into MR SHATNER's discography for more of his contributions to the musical world as i only picked this one up merely for the progressive rock musicians on board. While i would hardly call this an essential album in any musical arena, it is somewhat of a curiosity that will tickle the funny bone of the open-minded music lover who doesn't mind serious music being blended with ridiculousness. Good but not great. Vision expressed, so it's time for Scotty to beam me up and outa here to something more interesting.

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