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Jeff Cotton

The Fantasy of Reality

Review by Gary Hill

Jeff Cotton was formerly the guitarist for Captain Beefheart. If you know that, you'll have an idea of what kind of music you are going to get here. This is psychedelically based stuff that definitely leans on experimental and art-rock based zones. That's why I have landed it under prog. I have to admit that a lot of times the vocals don't gel for me, but that was true of a lot of Beefheart's music. The instrumental stuff here is wide ranging and so cool, though. The net result is an intriguing and largely effective release that should really be great for Beefheart fans.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Does It Work For You
This comes in with a funky sort of groove. The music turns toward fusion territory. This makes me think of 1980s era King Crimson to a large degree. The vocals are of the spoken variety early, but they turn sung later. This is classy and very artsy. It has a rather Zappa-like vibe at times.
It Never Ceases To Blow My Mind
More of a mainstream folk-rock styled piece, this is still loaded with tasty weirdness. It has some definite jazz things going on, too. I'm also reminded a little of early Pink Floyd in some ways. I'm not crazy about the vocal arrangement on this tune. I really enjoy the instrumental section later.
Ivy
Slow moving, stripped back music is the order of business here. This is an acoustic guitar exploration that has a lot of style and proggy charm. It covers a good range, too.
Green Bamboo
I can hear some funk and fusion here. This is a bouncy sort of bit of nearly mainstream weirdness overall, though. Again, the vocals leave something to be desired for me, but the music is cool and gets pretty interesting.
He Made The Eagle
There is a soaring kind of proggy arrangement to this thing. Saxophone is a nice touch, but it isn't present through the whole track, only the intro. The cut has some intriguing twists and turns, and the vocals work a bit better.
Elvirus
An acoustic guitar exploration is paired with a down and dirty vocal on this short piece.
This Gentle Earth
An energetic and driving tune, this is a lot of fun. It has some definite proggy elements at play.
All Things New
There is a soaring sort of folk prog groove to this song. I like the bass on this quite a bit. I really love some of the killer slide guitar that comes in late.
Crusin' Hamakua
Old-school blues rock is on the menu here. This is a driving number that's a lot of fun.
Together We Sail
Mainstream rock merges with Beefheart and Zappa-like angles on this number. It has a good energy, and is very effective.
The Space Between Us All
I dig the sort of jazzy groove this starts this. The cut works out to more of a quirky sound that we're getting used to by this point. This gets pretty involved and cool.
On The Thread
Progressive rock and fusion vibes merge on this rocker. This has some great sonic exploration built into it. This instrumental is one of the standouts on the album.
Aloha
Here we get a full-on Hawaiian number. This has some of the weirdness we've come to expect.
The Liberation Song
There is plenty of killer fusion-styled jamming on this thing. It's a real powerhouse number.
The Breeze Of Oblivion
Unusual and intriguing, this has a folk prog vibe to it as it gets going. It turns jazzy further down the road. This turns out into some killer jazz jamming still later. It becomes quite the powerhouse.
Heavy
This is a classy sort of roots piece soaked with weirdness and style.
The Season Of The Awakening
There is a folk angle to this piece. This has some almost spacey things at times, though.
Mother Earth Needs Healing
I love the classy art rock vibe on this. I'm reminded a little of the Strawbs somehow. This still has plenty of folk rock, jazz and more in the mix.
Together
There is a hopeful vibe to this cut. It really is a song calling for unity. It has folk music and other elements at play.
Hear The Word
There is a jazzy, exploratory groove to this piece. This is one of the standouts here.
It Would Take An Angel
Folk rock is the concept at the heart of this number.
Clean In Nature's Stream
There are some decidedly art rock angles to this song. There are also hints of space rock. It's a great choice to close the album.

 

 
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