Album – Stray – Derek James

Posted by admin on November 4th, 2006

Catching up on backlog is a pretty guilt ridden task, especially when an album is this good. I actually got this CD to review in the summer and played it a few times in the 90f degree heat and the album just didn’t click with me. Yes some albums need to be gently cossetted to prepare for the ultimate listening experience. I don’t know what went wrong with this album, but uncovering it again a few weeks ago, proved to me, that sometimes your ears can be put off by the surroundings. At least with all the albums I request, they don’t get put on the scrap heap. If I’ve requested the,. I’ve heard a spark of genius and I don’t give up until I’ve given an album my fullest.

The album opens with “Free Love”, not my favorite track by far, but it does at least showcase Derek’s voice and gives you an inkling of what’s to come. “Stray” is probably one of the killer tracks on the album, more for the vocal delivery than the actual lyrics. “One More Day” is one of the more diverse tracks on the album with a decidedly reggae, laidback and relaxed feel to it. “Summer” for me is a classic radio favorite, that the radio is sadly missing out on and I have to admit it’s when I hear stuff like this that I start to get very frustrated with the current state of radio play. Mind you I shouldn’t get too critical as I’ve virtually abandoned the radio. Maybe I should become a radio DJ indie music evangelist… Or maybe I should try to get my podcast into triple digits.

Listening to Derek, there’s an interesting range of influence including Marc Bolan, he of T-Rex fame, which is very apparent on the track “Smoky Light”. I can really imagine Marc singing this, if he wasn’t tragically taken from us in 1977. “Skye” has that wonderful quality that’s hard to pinpoint. It has a wonderfully uplifting quality, with lyrics to match and is a track that showcases all the is good with Derek James. One of my favorite track on the album would have to be “Dust in the Wind”, with it’s real sense of angst. My favorite track however would have to be “Pretty Lady”, absolute sheer class.

Conclusion : Yes, yet another 9 out of 10 album, but deservedly so. Talent deserves to be recognized. Phenomenal talent deserves to be lauded from the highest roof tops and this is phenomenal.

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