One of my favorite tracks for airplay has been the closer, “Flying Lessons,” which nods to Joni Mitchell’s work. It’s the song that made me mentally scribble down that this is a 2020 Top Ten Album candidate for WYEP’s The Soul Show announcements at year’s end.
In this second installment of Soulshowmike’s Album Picks, I’ve decided to present my track-by-track notes:
• “Lost & Found”: A short intro that hints at the folk/jazz that’s coming.
• “Find Your Way”: Great tempo changes.
• “Catch Me Falling”: I’m In Love — strings abound, delivery playful, gorgeous piano. • “Marrow”: Airy ambience in recording, great guitar, “La La La”s are awesome.
• “The Core”: Rejoiceful, with great backgrounds, a bit ethereal; reminds me of Ala.Ni of France.
• “Return To Sender”: Here comes the beginning of the Joni-isms; some talk-singing that makes you want to meet her; more spaciness (not sure if the background is her own vocal overdubbing, but it works).
• “Your Light”: Effortless, effortless delivery.
• “Take A Little Trip”: Who has the nerve to cover this Minnie Riperton classic? Yes, she does. Moorer doesn’t mimic the original’s “doobydoobydo” stylings, but those should remain in Riperton’s queendom anyway. Brenda injects some trip-beats to make this song her own. (For you babykinses, Minnie was Maya Rudolph’s five-octave mom.)
• “Little Prayer”: Here come more Joni hints, this time quickly and instrumentally.
• “Flying Lesson”: And then it explodes. I remember how Robert Glasper’s “Black Radio” snuck up on me this way, when the closing Nirvana cover had me staring at the car player and knobs. If you are in a single-song frame of mind, cheat a little and let Track 9 lead you into 10. This is some beautiful voicing and music.
By the way, an exciting release comes out at the end of October: Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967). Can’t wait.
Mike Canton is the longtime host and producer of The Soul Show on WYEP 91.3FM. He recently launched a syndicated edition of the program, now airing in three markets. In these COVID days, both are produced in his Electric Basement Studios. Canton is also a Pittsburgh-area voice artist.