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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

Review by Larry Toering

This is the album Joe Satriani owed the record company while he was with Deep Purple, and one of the reasons given for not continuing with them.  No matter how you call it, he definitely upped his game after being on the road with that group, and this album is the result of a much more confident player. At the time it was only acknowledged by those who witnessed those changes, but looking back it can all be sorted out by anyone interested enough in his career. This is a great album with Glyn Johns producing and helping him nail a more classic rock vibe, along with the smoother, more jazzy numbers to be found here. It's an excellent album that deserves more credit to him, but with this kind of music, things can tend to mush for the average listener, and this is one of his first attempts to grab the attention of such listeners.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Cool #9

This is so good it rates as one of my favorite songs by any artist. It's magnificently mellow with an underlying attitude, and a funky backing track, as Satriani lets it rip in a smooth jazzy sort of arrangement. It's simply killer, or genius, as those the only words I can use to describe its massively infectious vibes.

If
Things really pick up concerning the tempo on this one. This is another Satriani romp of perfection, with a big bass groove and the usual lyrical guitar approach.
Down, Down, Down
This is an extremely slow treat, and I have to say that he came out of left field with this, and a couple of others that were very indicative of his stint with Purple. He tends to even sound like he's feeling his way here, almost like his hands are reaching out to touch something, very strange, but very real.
Luminous Flesh Giants
Now this has a monstrous groove to it. It’s a hugely vibrant number, one of the best here. It's awesome the way Satriani seamlessly incorporates styles, like his life depends on it. There is an overall sense of joy to it, even though it seems to be a scary sort of theme.
S.M.F.
This has more of a blend of styles, wrapped around this nice little sort of grungy motif that periodically drives the fantastic tune it is.
Look My Way
There is often something with a harmonica on Satriani's albums, and this features his efforts in that department. This is a sort of hick tune with a skiffle vibe to it, backed of course by a quirky vocal. The closest I can compare a tune like this would be to Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, as it's very reminiscent of Year 3000 Blues. There is little doubt he wasn't inspired by it. Normally his influences don't show so much, but he did pick up a few things on the road with Purple, and it just clearly resulted in some diversity he hadn't gotten into before this recording. This also features vocals by him, but they're done in a sort of trippy redneck style, more like he is humming along, with the title and a few words for good measure, giving an almost improv feel.
Home
This is a very slow groove, with a few tad bursts of excitement, but not really much more happening. It's still a totally likable tune with some searing work only Satriani can achieve, so it belongs with this collection of tunes.
Moroccan Sunset
This is a fantastic little gem if there ever was one, with a very mellow yet intense approach at the same time. Some killer work is displayed here as usual, and it's one of the more enjoyable tracks.
Killer Bee Bop
Getting back to the feel of the first track a bit here, this is even more jazzy, as that isn't far from what it really can be categorized as. This is also one of my favorite on the disc anyway, but not exceeding the first track by any means.
Slow Down Blues
I'm not sure why he calls this slow. It must just be a joke or something, as he plays some of the fastest licks I've ever heard, and I hate to spoil it but there is a dead solid lift from the live version of Purple's Child In Time.” In fact, it should actually be noted for credit to Ritchie Blackmore, because Satriani definitely nods to him there. There’s no question about it. And there is almost no getting around the maturity in Satriani’s playing after such an experience with those veteran rockers, who play at more of a gut-level than he had to that point. I feel he became a little less technical after that experience, and it's written all over this recording.
(You're) My World
This is a fine number with searing, spine tingling guitar. It has that lyrical quality Satriani is known for, and some cool effects to boot.
Sittin' 'Round
This is a song about something I dislike doing more than just about anything, and while it doesn't make me want to pull it out every time I'm doing so, it fits the titles description either way. It's rather slow yet very groovy and interesting, as it takes the recording out on a sombre note.

 

 
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