John Phillips â€“ Jack Of Diamonds / 2007 Phoenix / http://www.varesevintage.com /
This album marks music from John Phillipsâ€™ â€œJack of Diamondsâ€. For those that might not know, this was a previously unreleased album that marked music that Phllips created from 1972 and 1973, and was unreleased for whatever reason. Â Varese Vintage here has not only committed the disc to the CD format, but has added 5 new tracks, whether they be live or retooled versions of Mamas and Papas songs (â€œHoneymoon (No Dough)) or songs that were rare for whatever reason. â€œDevilâ€™s On The Loose is the first track on â€œJack of Diamondsâ€, and the track confuses me.
Â If Philips released this album back when ey wrote and created these tracks, â€œDevilâ€™s On The Looseâ€ would have immediately charted. The track blends together horns, a ropey bass, and Phillipâ€™s distinct vocal style into a bouncy, fun track that still manages to tell a story. â€œMister Blueâ€ is more of the same, but feels almost as if Phillips has taken inventory of David Bowieâ€™s minimalist style and responds to it with eir own. Sure. The horns that market â€œDevilâ€™s On The Looseâ€ are continued during â€œMister Blueâ€, but the slower, disaffected style of the vocals during this track provides an interesting contrast with the much more emotionally inflamed brass on the track. A middle ground is found during â€œBlack Broadwayâ€, which has Phillips take on a very Lou Reed type of sound for this song.
Â In fact, I would match together â€œBlack Broadwayâ€ with â€œVenus In Fursâ€ or â€œIâ€™m Waiting For My Manâ€ in that they share a common spirit. This spacy, airy sound that starts out â€œChinatownâ€ seems to draw Phillips in a different direction. The humming that initiates the track shows a more hopeful and emotionally invested Phillips go in a direction that has not been heard previously on â€œJack of Diamondsâ€. I can see why Varese decided to re-release this album after so many years in the vault; it shows an incredibly vibrant Phillips going forth and creating music that works thirty-five years after the fact in much the same way it would have if this album was released in the first place. Phillipâ€™s amazing ability comes through on the rich recording of this album, and now individuals can hear what was for years only familiar to a few individuals.
Top Tracks: Marooned, Revolution On Vacation