Christopher Cross

CROSS RETURNS --- While I was watching the re-make of Arthur several weeks back (which I still contend was not as bad as most of the reviews said) and appreciating all the obvious references to the original Dudley Moore-movie, I thought for moment how nice it would be to have one of the original musical artists return. That artist would be none other than Christopher Cross, who wrote the title theme for the movie, “Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do),” which he wrote with Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and the late Peter Allen. Just to give credit where credit is due (and, because I haven't seen it referenced anywhere else!) the song was indeed updated by the L.A.-based group Fitz and The Tantrums. It was satisfying to hear, yet the re-make failed to generate the same chills down my spine that Cross' version had. It was ... just basically adequate. Imagine my surprise when several weeks later we have received the first album from the elusive Mr. Cross in 12 years called Doctor Faith. Cross' musical trajectory has always proved somewhat curious: terrifically talented and one rather brilliant songwriter, once he hit it big in the early 80's, with songs like “Sailing,” he seemed to be forever tagged as Mr. Middle Of The Road. This new album does have a share of miraculous moments, especially on my favorite track “Help Me Cry,” yet, in all, it sounds like it was released somewhere in those crazy 80's days; and, not that there's anything wrong with that. Says the artist, “This album not only feels like a new chapter to my career; but, it feels like starting a whole new book.” It might be a new book ... but, it's the same subject! One of the recurring themes of the album is the search for peace by making peace within one's self. Interesting. Cross may never have another chart-topping single, yet he remains one of the most prolific (and, successful) artists in music history. Sort of like Michael Sembello of Flashdance's "Maniac" fame. Gone, but never really, truly forgotten. I actually tremendously enjoyed listening to it, yet could not help thinking I was in a time-wrap. Doobie Brother-Michael McDonald joins in on vocals for the song the title track and really lends terrific support; and, we also loved “I'm Too Old For This” and “Poor Man's Ecstasy.” You know, all these 80's memories aren't all that bad and in a way, proves a nice and simple distraction from everything else on the radio these days. Truth be told, his music is still played extensively, it's just that there's not that many outlets anymore (easy listening stations as it were) like there used to be. And, his voice remains totally intact. The disc is also produced by the five-time Grammy winning Cross and is terrifically pleasing. If you liked Cross the first time out; and, wondered whatever became of him, you'll love this one!


ALPERT KICKS BRASS --- One of the best music-oriented articles I've read in far too long is in this month's Los Angeles Magazine on renaissance man Herb Alpert. Yes, the fellow from the 60's-seminal group Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (What Now My Love). Alpert, who fronted one of the premiere record labels ever (A&M Records) is now 76 and in many ways working harder than ever; perfecting his art; running two foundations; and, performing with his wife Lani Hall. Kudos to writer Steve Oney who put together one of the best articles I've read on a subject like him. Check it out:


Joss Stone

SAY HEY TO JESSE J --- It's not all that often that a British artist performs on Saturday Night Live even before your debut album has been released. But, such was the case with Brit-artist Jessie J (winner of the Brit-Critics Choice at the 2011 Brit Awards) who had that charmed spot last month. Luckily for all, it was one of the funnier SNL's of the year with host Zach Galifinakas and Jake Gyllenhaal there to promote his opening Source Code movie. Jesse channels the best of the recent Brit-artists breaking through here in the States; including Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Leona Lewis, and Adele. Yet, she does bring to her music an uncanny, most enticing, street-feel to her music. Most catchy is the initial single “Price Tag” which at first seems to be a tad-too catchy, but then you can't stop thinking about it. We also loved her on the ballad “Big White Room.” We also notice that our old friend Jason Flom is responsible for her release here through his label Lava. Congrats Jason! Interestingly enough, the next big, Brit singer to emerge is poised to be ...Estelle. Up till now, her music hasn't had a wide appeal, but it's highly revered by music's inner circles. Her U.S. debut include help from Back to Black's (Amy Winehouse's debut) mastermind Mark Ronson, as well as heavy hitters John Legend, will. I. am. and, Kanye West. Reports are, serious music lovers will love. it.


Micky Dolenz

METAL MICKY --- Interesting quote from Monkee-Micky Dolenz: “Just 10 days after I finish Hairspray, I fly back to the States to start rehearsals and then we head back to Liverpool to start the tour,” says the star, who also directed and produced the 80's comedy series, Metal Micky. “We tend to come together every 10 or 12 years due to the demand of our fans. We're all free agents – there's no 'Monkee Business,' so to speak – so we come together when we can. I'm looking forward to Monkee-ing around again.” Wonder if that's a shout-out to Monkee Business-author Eric Lefcowitz? One of the best rock books we've yet read this year. We're onto the Sammy Hager (Red-My Uncensored Life in Rock) book right now, but Lefcowitz's hits the nail on the head!


PAUL REISER RISES? --- Paul Reiser, who for seven years was on TV, with Helen Hunt, on the series Mad About You, returned to TV two weeks back with the eponymous titled Paul Reiser Show, and after two rather disastrous showing, the show was officially canceled by NBC. Now, I watched both episodes: the first one I found a tab frustrating as it seemed like a bad, bad version of Larry David's show Curb Your Enthusiasm. What really made it especially bad was the fact that David-himself appeared on the show and though he was funny, it was just very, very surreal. Almost like the NBC-lite version of David's show. The bloggers really had a field day with this first episode, even going so far as to suggest NBC had lost a bet to the comedian and had to air the show; and, another suggesting that it might have helped had the show been titled The Paul Seinfeld Show. Ouch! The second episode was actually rather funny, but if nothing else it shows you just how fast things develop in this digital-age. In my opinion, the bloggers had already sunk this show by episode 2. Now, I actually always enjoyed the comedian; the baddie Carter he played in the first Aliens movie just delicious and I even liked his TV series after Mad called My Two Dads ... but, this show just didn't work. Hunt herself apparently directed the third episode which I'm sure the network will burn off over the summer. Sure, he looked somewhat tired and a little overweight, but, that does happen! He'll be back I'm sure ... soon!

Photos By: Walter McBride/RD/Kabik/Sara De Boer/Retna