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 I Like Instru-MENTAL!

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Twenty Flight Rick

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Sat May 07, 2011 9:17 am

Me too. I'm diggin' Earl's Breakdown at the moment.

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Setzerado

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Sun May 08, 2011 10:36 am

A little more of banjo would have been appreciated...
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Andi

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Fri May 13, 2011 11:25 am

So back when the mp3s were leaked and I listened to about 30 seconds of each, these were my initial thoughts on Instru-MENTAL!:

Quote :
"I have to admit, and this is going to sound really bizarre coming from the biggest Setzer fan in the world, but the total absence of Brian's voice leaves me a little cold. I haven't even made it through listening to all the tracks yet. I love the man's guitar work as much as anyone but its the expressiveness of the voice, AND the guitar, AND the look, AND the performance that does it for me... this is too much of half of it without the other half. A few of these in a live show will be wonderful, and in an mp3 playlist too. But all together, with NO voice? I'm sure I'll warm up to it. Right?"

Absolutely right.

First of all, the CD and the vinyl are far superior to the mp3s, making for a much more enjoyable listening experience. Duh. Also, this isn't the first time this has happened. My gut instinct was to absolutely hate the first Brian Setzer Orchestra record when it came out. I was a Stray Cats fan, what the hell was this? Then I gave it a chance, listening further. It coincided with and probably heavily influenced my introduction to and obsession with big band music and swing dancing. It re-sparked my childhood love affair with Brian Setzer. It became one of my favorite Setzer records of all. And it introduced me to Etta James, Wynonie Harris (now my top favorite of the blues shouters), *good* Bobby Darin (not Splish Splash), and non-radio Clash (and Vince Taylor). Not too bad for a record I hated upon first listen.

I don't reckon Instru-MENTAL! will have quite as much of an impact on me, but suffice it to say, I was completely wrong upon first impression and now I'm truly enjoying this record. I haven't yet had time to study the sound quality and production values in depth and to compare and contrast the CD and vinyl, I've only been grooving to the CD while driving to and from work, but it's been enough to form much more solid feelings about the music itself. SO. Here are some new thoughts.

Being in the right mood and frame of mind makes a big difference when listening to Instru-MENTAL! If you're feeling like you want some raw, frantic rockabilly or wailin', rockin' big band, don't put this on. If you want some stylish, playfully fun, content, easy-going, yet extremely accomplished and virtuosic rootsy-jazz guitar (that doesn't come off like pretentious look-how-amazing-I-am finger-gymnastics), put this on. Rather than focusing on the lack of vocals, focus on how much of Setzer's personality and "voice" comes through in every note he plays on this record. Every time I listen to Instru-MENTAL!, I play it all the way through from start to finish - I don't feel a desire to skip any songs and I don't jump to specific favorites. Actually, I have a hard time naming a favorite - it's highly dependent upon my mood.

I wondered how Setzer would handle rhythm when the new record was announced to be "guitars only." Could he really mean that?? I am very glad to see that a rhythm section was indeed included. Johnny "Spazz" Hatton's relaxed and versatile upright bass work is absolutely necessary to the atmosphere created on this record, as is Noah Levy's very understated drumming. (To my mind, even the LACK of drums on a couple tracks is an interesting choice that, ultimately, I'm glad Setzer made.) The ever-so-subtle use of mellow swing/jazz rhythm guitar throughout lends a great deal to the mix, even if you are only subconsciously aware of its presence.

It's obvious that Setzer has been playing Blue Moon of Kentucky and Be Bop a Lula for years, that he knows the ins and outs of these songs intimately.... and that he still loves them every bit as much today as he did when he was just a kid. The riffs and hooks have matured and become ever-more Setzeresque over the years, and these recordings are the very satisfying culmination of that evolution. Cherokee, Earl's Breakdown and Lonesome Road, the other "covers" on the record, further illustrate that one of Setzer's biggest strengths is making someone else's song entirely his own. The echoes of Les Paul and Chet Atkins mentioned by many others are definitely there - I especially hear the spirit of Les Paul in Cherokee - but the "Setzerness" of these renditions makes them my favorite versions of these songs out there. (As an aside: the fact that you can hear Setzer INHALE at one point during Cherokee, even on a shitty car stereo in a drafty, noisy convertible while hurtling down the freeway, is a good indication that the quality of the recording is very high.)

For the most part, I find Setzer's original instrumentals to be excellent mood/scene setters - "tools," rather than full-fledged songs that stand on their own. Far Noir East, Go Go Godzilla, Hot Love and Pickpocket (like Surfer and Jazzer before them), are melodically simple, very riffy, and somewhat repetitive. And sometimes that works really well. Sometimes that's exactly what you need - just a damn good groove. Listen to Godzilla while you're driving on an open highway. You will speed. It's made for it. It's also great as background music for a scene in a movie (maybe that's why it was picked up for use in the movie "Soul Surfer") or as bump music for a TV/radio show (heh Wink)

I except Intermission and Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown from the "mood setting" descriptor. Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown is the closest thing to a bragging solo you'll find on this record. Intermission, while not quite as complex as Cherokee, is delicious and fun jazz that does indeed stand on its own.

Instru-MENTAL! is an obvious and necessary addition to the Setzer catalog, one that probably should've been made long ago, but that fits perfectly at this stage of Setzer's career. The sophistication and talent on this record is on par with what we saw on "Lonely Avenue" - but stripped down to its barest essentials, which makes it that much more impressive of an offering.
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tvthewiredturtle

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Fri May 13, 2011 11:42 am



I'm ready to move on.. Get funky Setzer n bring that live nashville sound
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Andi

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Fri May 13, 2011 11:45 am

It hasn't even been out a month yet silly, give him time to have some fun with it in Europe!
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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Fri May 13, 2011 11:49 am

That album came out when it was avail on the internet. I'm ready for the upright bass duets and war drums
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Rickabilly

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Fri May 13, 2011 1:24 pm

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!

A good review of an album has me hearing the album when I read it. A great review has me seeing the review in my mind when I hear the album. Now when I listen to "Instru-mental," the voices in my head will be reading Andi's review. Well done!

Fandi-billy



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Setzerado

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Sun May 15, 2011 12:51 am

Very pleasant review Andi, congratulations !
This record deserves it.
As Rickabilly has proposed it, I read your review listening to Instru-MENTAL and it helps the translation to be more easy Wink
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kbilly

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Sun May 15, 2011 6:55 pm

Did I miss the vocal credits on Go Go? Could they be the Vega boys or the Setzer kids?
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Slim Jon Phantom

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Mon May 16, 2011 3:03 am

I think it's Brian's wife, Julie
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Rickabilly

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Mon May 16, 2011 6:24 am

I'm sure the Go-Go squeals are courtesy of Julie Setzer, but I remember thinking on first listen "Oh dear. Brian's gone and joined the B-52s." She definitely has that Kate Pierson quality in her vocals on that tune.

Love Shack, Baby-billy
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Twenty Flight Rick

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Mon May 16, 2011 6:29 am

Good call on the B-52s reference! I hadn't thought of that before, but you're right. Roam if you want to...
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Rickabilly

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Mon May 16, 2011 11:02 am

Now I have this Japanese sci-fi movie playing in my head:

Rock Lobster Vs. Go-Go Godzilla





Quien es mas macho-billy
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enjay07



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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Mon May 16, 2011 9:13 pm

I've really held my tongue just about as long as I can. Most people who know me well enough know that if you ASK me what my opinion is....you're going to get it.
To average consumer Jane who doesn't know s&*t about guitar riffs, who's never had a guitar lesson, and wouldn't know one end of an amp from another: when the final track of Instru-Mental was over my head was screaming "give me more!!" I'm trying to figure out what part-time job I'm going to take, or what crap I'm going to sell on eBay so i can get tickets to the closest concert this year.
I felt almost naughty, listening to Blue Moon of Kentucky because it sounded like it was such an intimate moment between a man and his guitar. I thought, "really? Mr. Setzer (yes...MR. Setzer) is recording THIS moment to share with the rest of the world? What a gift!"
As far as all the nay-sayers begrudging "yet another" recording of Be-Bop-A-Lula, I felt like it was an insight into a rendition of how Setzer hears it himself. Poetry. Sheer poetry.
Of all the posts I read on this forum about how Setzer is (arguably) THE greatest guitarist ever, and to be given the gift of Instru-Mental? Fans (can I use the terms loosely?) respond by saying, "An album with no vocals?" Bah!!
I see this album (CD---whatever you call it these days) as Brian putting his heart on a limb. I hear this as being an extremely intimate album, nothing but the man and the insturment. What can be more raw and exposed than that? No vocals to hide behind, no big band, no fanfare.
I felt like I was given the chance to hear music the way Brian "hears" the music...in his mind; before the notes hit the paper. Like being able to peer through the window.
Lonely Avenue was about creating a mood, taking you on a journey. WBNO was about an interpretation...Setzer style of the classics. Instru-Mental is like an invitation into Brian's world.
Listening to this album reminded me of watching my favorite piano man in concert, and watching him get lost in a solo...forgetting the lights, the other musicians, the fans, and just making love (so to speak) to that piano...and being in awe of that moment watching magic happen. I can see that happening with the songs from this album. Making magic happen. What a gift. I want more.
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tvthewiredturtle

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Mon May 16, 2011 9:39 pm

enjay07 wrote:
I've really held my tongue just about as long as I can. Most people who know me well enough know that if you ASK me what my opinion is....you're going to get it.
To average consumer Jane who doesn't know s&*t about guitar riffs, who's never had a guitar lesson, and wouldn't know one end of an amp from another: when the final track of Instru-Mental was over my head was screaming "give me more!!" I'm trying to figure out what part-time job I'm going to take, or what crap I'm going to sell on eBay so i can get tickets to the closest concert this year.
I felt almost naughty, listening to Blue Moon of Kentucky because it sounded like it was such an intimate moment between a man and his guitar. I thought, "really? Mr. Setzer (yes...MR. Setzer) is recording THIS moment to share with the rest of the world? What a gift!"
As far as all the nay-sayers begrudging "yet another" recording of Be-Bop-A-Lula, I felt like it was an insight into a rendition of how Setzer hears it himself. Poetry. Sheer poetry.
Of all the posts I read on this forum about how Setzer is (arguably) THE greatest guitarist ever, and to be given the gift of Instru-Mental? Fans (can I use the terms loosely?) respond by saying, "An album with no vocals?" Bah!!
I see this album (CD---whatever you call it these days) as Brian putting his heart on a limb. I hear this as being an extremely intimate album, nothing but the man and the insturment. What can be more raw and exposed than that? No vocals to hide behind, no big band, no fanfare.
I felt like I was given the chance to hear music the way Brian "hears" the music...in his mind; before the notes hit the paper. Like being able to peer through the window.
Lonely Avenue was about creating a mood, taking you on a journey. WBNO was about an interpretation...Setzer style of the classics. Instru-Mental is like an invitation into Brian's world.
Listening to this album reminded me of watching my favorite piano man in concert, and watching him get lost in a solo...forgetting the lights, the other musicians, the fans, and just making love (so to speak) to that piano...and being in awe of that moment watching magic happen. I can see that happening with the songs from this album. Making magic happen. What a gift. I want more.

amen...
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MJ



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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Tue May 17, 2011 5:24 am

Andi- thank you for the great review.
enjay- YES! "Intimate" is exactly what I keep thinking as I listen and listen again.
I am one of those "average Janes" who do not know anything about playing a guitar or the intricacies of creating music. However, I am someone who truly appreciates music and amire someone who can create and I do think Mr Setzer (again I agree here) is a talent that is SO under rated! Like a Star @ heaven I have been playing Instru-Mental over and over and over and I just can't get enough. Ok, I admit, I think everything Mr Setzer does is sheer genius, but I truly believe his skill with the guitar is unmatched. He is a truly gifted artist. I have several musician friends who do not necessarily care for his music, yet agree that he is a genius with the guitar.
Ok, I'll stop swooning for now. I just wanted to say that even someone who essentially knows nothing about actually playing guitar can understand and appreciate what a phenomenon Mr Setzer is Smile
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Twenty Flight Rick

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Tue May 17, 2011 6:35 am

Wow Enjay and MJ, great posts! Thanks for your insight!
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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Tue May 17, 2011 9:16 pm

... And Rick, thanks for the topic !
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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed May 18, 2011 12:53 am

Yesterday on the way home around 10pm,

i turned my radio on, channel NDR Info, "Play Jazz",

and Brian Setzer sound came out of my radio
Jazz Hillbilly Meltdown
Intermission

cheers
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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed May 18, 2011 5:09 am

http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/brian-setzer-fuses/May-2011/131537

Cool Guitar Player Magazine article on "Instrumental"

cheers
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Twenty Flight Rick

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed May 18, 2011 5:40 am

Now that's a great read. Thanks for posting Shark!
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Rickabilly

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed May 18, 2011 11:26 am

There's a link to that article on the Setzer on Cover of Guitar Player Magazine May 2011!!!! thread that has all the photos from the print article as well.

I love the detailed analysis Brian provides on the new album. Who better to review the new Brian Setzer album than Brian Setzer? That's a terrific interview!

Fit to Print-a-billy
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Andi

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed May 18, 2011 11:40 am

NJ and MJ, nice contributions, thanks! Very cool to get everyone's different perspectives (and more female ones at that Razz).

Thanks to everyone for the kind words about my review. It's easy for me to go on way too long about Setzer, so I think I'll go back to just listening.

sunny
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MJ



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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed May 18, 2011 3:07 pm

Great article- thank you for posting! I LOVE that he gave the nod to MN on several occasions cheers

Andi- I totally agree, nice to hear from other women on here. I always know woman is cool if she's a freak for Mr Setzer Very Happy

I just got back from my mechanic (just an oil change) and the mechanic gave me a cd from his band- he knows I'm a music freak and saw Instru-Mental in my car. We chatted about the album (which he loves) and about what an incredible guitar player Setzer is. Turns out that Mr Setzer comes into the shop frequently with his hotrods. OMG, freaking out a bit over here!!!!!!!!!
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Setzerado

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:09 am

Someone has seen the full Go-Go Godzilla video ?
Really great with a lot of allusions to Brian !!
Love it I love you
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