Scenes From The Southside
RCA Records, 1988
REVIEW BY: Tom Lancing
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/23/1998
A few weeks ago I was out shopping with my girlfriend. At one stop I began to notice the in-store music... mainly, how bad it was. I won't name the store but let's just say she need to fill "the gap" in her spring wardrobe. I believe the song was was "Wild Weekend". An instrumental originally performed by The Rocking Rebels now redone by NRBQ complete with vocals that pushed me to the edge and to the computer to write this review. So....on we go.
Released in 1988, Scenes From The Southside is the second release for Bruce Hornsby and the Range. His first album The Way It Is with its title cut brought Hornsby and his band into the spotlight, and Scenes From The Southside continues the tradition of top quality music.
My original purchase of this album was in the now extinct LP format. You know.... the big plastic Frisbee with the grooves all over it. Anyway, I used the CD version for the purposes of review. I picked it up at a used CD store for six dollars on one of my many excursions with now legendary Bob Pierce. Yes, Bob and I go back awhile. The stories I could tell you.....
Strap on your headphones and press "PLAY" here we go....
"Look Out Any Window" begins with a slow fade in followed a quick jump that defines the music and the artist. The incredible piano sound is the driving and defining sound in his music. This continues into "The Valley Road" where Hornsby floors us with an amazing piano solo that would make any keyboardist jealous. In fact, Hornsby had to carefully re-enact the solo for the video, because the piano work on this track was captured in one take at the studio. The up tempo continues with "I Will Walk With You". On the next song, he slows down and shows is softer ballad style with "The Road Not Taken".
The next track may be familiar to fans that are not familiar with Hornsby's work. "The Show Goes On" was used in the Ron Howard film Backdraft, filmed in Chicago. Picking up slightly with "The Old Playground," Hornsby builds up for the transition into "Defenders Of The Flag". Assisted by his long time friend Huey Lewis on the harp, Hornsby reflects on American pride and those who defended the flag. He continues with "Jacob's Ladder" originally written and recorded by.....you guessed it, Lewis. The original can be found on his release Fore. Hornsby finishes up "Till The Dreaming's Done." By adding the unique sound of an accordion he produces another incredible sound and song.
To those who are unsure if they will like Scenes From The Southside, my suggestion is it to buy a copy at a used store and try it. You only lose a few dollars and it will sound just as good as a new CD.
I was able to see the live tour supporting this album. Valentine's Day, 1989. And what a show it was. Twenty-five minutes into the show, he had already knocked the piano out of tune. The engineers tuned the piano on stage while Hornsby interacted with the crowd and cracked jokes. A few songs later and followed by another 20-minute intermission, Hornsby was back at it and played over 1 1/2 hours making this concert definitely worth the price of admission.
Buy it, rent it, lease it....whatever, just listen to. Decide for yourself. I did. To sum it up in a word....SOLD!