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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Tokyo Rosenthal

Who Was That Man?

Review by Gary Hill

The latest disc from Tokyo Rosenthal, this continues his musical style and concepts. The sounds of Rosenthal usually combine rock music with folk, country and other elements. His voice is so rooted in Americana that it’s hard to pinpoint for reference. If you wanted to come somewhere in the neighborhood, imagine Pete Seeger mixed with Roy Orbison and Chris Isaak. That doesn’t nail it, but it comes close.  A couple songs this time out feature some Latin horns, and that’s a nice touch. All in all, this is another fine release from a guy who just keeps delivering quality album after album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Who Was That Man

Folk, country and old school Latin sounds merge on this killer tune. It’s a great way to start the set off in style. It feels like it could have been the theme song to an old spaghetti Western or even James Bond movie. The instrumental section on this is just plain awesome.

Saving or Suffocation
Here’s a mellower tune. It’s poignant and has a lot of country music built into the mix. More than anything else, though, it probably qualifies as folk music. There’s some cool instrumentation on this piece, too. While this is mellower than the opener, it’s still got a lot of energy.       
Maybe I've Been Where I'm Goin'
This feels a bit like a cross between Marshall Tucker and Bob Dylan with the Band.
Black To Blue
More of a down home country style pervades this. It comes across to me like a cross between Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash and The Band. It’s a cool tune that’s a nice change of pace. It’s mellower than anything to this point, but still has some energy.
Your 3rd Score
There’s a real 1960s folk rock element here. Some killer violin work is heard later in this number. It’s a killer tune.
The Librarian
The Latin horns return on this bouncy number. This feels a bit like Roy Orbison in a lot of ways.
San Antone
This time out we get a full on rockabilly treatment, with the emphasis on the country side of that equation. This is a lot of fun. There’s a killer rockabilly guitar solo in this number.
Fresh Start
A balladic cut, this is very much a country tune. It’s a nice piece of music and a good change of pace.
Ann Marie
The most fully rock arrangement on show, there’s still country music built into this, but calling this one prog rock wouldn’t be out of the question. It’s energized and emotionally powerful. It’s arguably the best cut on the whole set. It features some inspired musical jamming and also a very evocative vocal performance.
Little Old Man
This starts and ends with a cat. A more balladic tune, the number is very much in a down home kind of motif.
 
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