Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daryl Hall: Sacred Songs

Okay, let's get this out of the way to start with: If you despise Hall and Oates, a Daryl Hall solo album isn't going to change your whole world view. The singer's voice and phrasing are so distinctive that they're unmistakeable in any form. What it does do is offer a pretty solid insight into the fact that Hall was not just all "Rock And Soul" in the late seventies, and that if the record companies hadn't gotten their way, Hall's career might have taken a noticeably different turn.

Sacred Songs was supposed to be released in 1977. Produced and conceived with Robert Fripp (yes, that Robert Fripp), the record was intended to be a vehicle for Hall to explore other facets of his musicality. Unfortunately, the record company didn't see it that way, and so the project was shelved until 1980, when it was a tad past its prime.

Despite the fact that the album missed commercial marks, it's a fascinating document of Hall and Fripp's collaboration, as well as what happens to Hall in a notably more experimental musical frame of mind. His distinctive vocals are still firmly in place, but Fripp's guitar lines challenge his ability to defer to simply accessible melodies, and as such his voice takes on a slightly more edgy, and less sacharine, tone. From the Fripp side of things, it's nice to hear his guitar work complimenting and challenging Hall. The album is also notable as being the first recorded appearance of Fripp's use of frippertronics.

When listening to the record, it's tough to take it out of context: the late seventies vibe is strong in these tracks, and at times is overwhelming. Still, if the listener can transcend some of the dated production value, the recordings present a great deal of insight into what might have happened for two musicians had they taken a slightly different path.

mp3: Daryl Hall - Survive Yousendit, click through


Patricia Fripp said...

Very interested to read about the contribution Robert Fripp made to Daryle Hall.

What you may not know is Robert is as good a public speaker as he is a guitarist.
Please spread the word about Robert Fripp’s public speaking events and
Robert Fripp spoken word CDs.

Robert Fripp speaking events in Seattle, LA, and Phoenix on November 8, 9, 11, 2008.