Search This Blog

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Christopher Cross – Doctor Faith album review

Christopher Cross – Doctor Faith album review
Released through: Edel GmbH / Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Release date: Available now

It’s really been close on twelve years since the last ‘proper’ Christopher Cross in ‘Red Room,’ back in 2000.
The two Christmas albums, I’m sorry, I’m not going to even go there ...

I know there’s been an acoustic release of his best known songs but again, that’s really not new material, so here we are, it’s 2011 and the man that bought a bunch of well-known songs to many and some really well put together albums – ‘Christopher Cross,’ ‘Another Page,’ ‘Every Turn of The World’ and ‘Back of my Mind’ – that were very good indeed, has a new album.
'Doctor Faith' is the product in question and ..., well, if you read through it and like what you read and have a pretty good memory there's giveaway competition at the end ... So read on! 
The guy has had two number one hit singles in the US alone, in ‘Sailing’ and ‘Arthur’s Theme (The Best that you can Do),’ and ‘Ride like the Wind’ was number two on Billboard as well!
 Your thinking, Al, this isn’t rock...? I’m sorry, listen again folks, no it’s not hard rock, well, not even classic rock as such, but you can hear the underlying sound of rock guitar, without doubt. It’s smooth, laid back pop rock, of a class nature.
The man has had some class session musician’s play with him in the past, I’m not going to name them, you go look yourselves, class stuff and the man can play himself, which he’s proven right here too!
In the past, he’s called on many name artists to help out, but on this new one perhaps just two of the special guests will sound familiar, smooth vocalist Michael McDonald (Doobies, Steely Dan) and Eric Johnson, a guitar star in his own right.
Other guests are on Sax, David Mann (James Taylor, Paul Simon, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart) and John Thomas on piano.
The other musicians on the album are drummer Dave Beyer and Mark Browne on bass.

It really is a good album which opens well with ‘Hey Kid’ and this is nice, laid back pop rock / AOR, really with some help on guitar from Eric Johnson on this one! Love it!
Welcome back Christopher, this opener had me hooked and pleased to hear new material from you once again.

‘I’m Too old for This’ is another prime slice in a similar style to ‘Hey Kid,’ very slick stuff indeed and in fact he brings to mind the late, very talented Gerry Rafferty (RIP) to a degree. Really nice track indeed!

In ‘When You Come Home’ it’s time to get laid back for real and he’s got the big old orchestra going on here too, it’s another smooth piece of work, from the man that seems to know just how to present this material so well.
‘Dreamers’ continues the laid back sound, with an almost Celtic touch and his voice sounds as smooth as it ever did with some almost Beach Boy’s style harmonizing, not to mention the absolutely ace of a guitar solo, that gives the song a special lift, sweet!
 The ballad driven style continues with ‘November’ which is simply piano, strings and that man’s slick voice.

Things pick up in an almost Chicago style manner with ‘Leave it To Me’ next, which is a more mid paced number, with some nice brass touches, some nice bass work too. Good stuff, but a guitar break would’ve fitted well too, guess I’m too greedy!?

Michael McDonald helps out mainly with the choruses and the bridge, with the title track, ‘Doctor Faith’ which is a slow to mid-paced number. I do like the drum fill on this, a little fancy, but not overboard.

The way the sax from David Mann brings in the opening of ‘Rescue,’ almost leads, like something on a Steve Lukather or Toto album, but it’s a lot more laid back and moody styled. More smooth sax later in the track too.

Some vibrato to the main man’s guitar on ‘Help Me Cry,’ which is a little more commercial sounding laid back pop ballad, that at times brings to mind Chicago. I guess at times Mr. Cross sounds not unlike Peter Cetera.

Vocally Christopher Cross tries to pick things up with next number ‘Still I Resist,’ but it’s still generally melancholy stuff.
The soulful guitar solo midway through, is brief, but effective.

Time to pick things up just a little with ‘Poor Man’s Ecstasy,’ which although starting slow, kicks up a gear soon enough and wants to rock and you just wonder why the man doesn’t really just let rip sometimes, I reckon he’d be great!
‘Everything’ brings David Mann’s sax back again, along with some strings for a steady, but gentle pop ballad.
Final track ‘Prayin’’ is in a similar style as ‘November’ with vocals, strings, but driven by a lightly strummed acoustic guitar.
So overall, what would people expect from Christopher Cross for a new album? Easy going ballads?
Well if your answer is yes, there are quite a few of them here, a few more upbeat numbers, couple of poppy tunes too, but overall, slick laid back stuff indeed.
The musicianship is all too clearly classy, the numbers that pick up obviously tend to be my favorites and I do wish there were a few more, but the guy has come back with an album that is bound to please the majority of his old fans, looking to reminisce.
If you’re thinking you long to hear numbers like, ‘Sailing,’ ‘Arthur’s Theme’ and ‘Think of Laura’ and I’m sure you’ll be happy with this. I’d have preferred an album more like ‘Back of my Mind,’ but this is still very well done!
 Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Full tracklisting:
Hey Kid
I'm Too Old For This
When You Come Home
Leave It To Me
Doctor Faith
Help Me Cry
Still I Resist
Poor Man's Ecstasy

Official website:
So, who is ready to answer a question on Christopher Cross for an autographed copy of 'Doctor Faith' from Christopher Cross, courtesy of Universal Music and a runner up prize of a regular copy of the CD, not autographed?
The first correct answer will get the signed copy, the second correct answer will get the regular copy.

The question is this, Ride Like the Wind was covered in a very different way, in 1988.
Who was the act that did so?

Giveaway rules:
1. Answers to me at:
2. Please provide your full name and postal address.
3. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents only.
4. Please understand, there are ONLY  two copies, one signed, one not and the editors decision is final.
 5. Competition closes Friday 1st July, 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment