------------------------------------------ VOLUME J7-1, sent June 9, 1997 (Reactions to the album _Junction 7_) Contributors in this issue: 1. SayOnceMor@aol.com (Andrea) 2. Shaft51@aol.com (Chuck) 3. "Elena Iglio"
4. Renee Schiber 5. firstname.lastname@example.org (Jack Santoro) 6. email@example.com (Eric) 7. firstname.lastname@example.org (Steven Robert Seim) 8. "Bob Craig" 9. "Les Jacobson" ------------------------------------------ 1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1*1 From: SayOnceMor@aol.com (Andrea) Date: Mon, 2 Jun 1997 14:47:31 -0400 (EDT) Well, I just picked up my copy of Junction 7 and here are my thoughts on the album... I LOVE IT!!! :-) I think it's a *fun* album that's not meant to be taken too seriously. And it's very different than anything else he's done, IMO, which I like also. I'm very glad to see that the liner notes included lyrics. :-) While this album is easier to understand than "Far From Home", there are still some parts that I wouldn't be able to figure out without the lyric sheet. I'm not too impressed with the album cover picture...It's not a real bad picture, I guess, but I think it makes Steve look old. The pictures in the liner notes aren't too bad...I'm not too sure about that picture of Steve sprawled out on the bed though...I mean, he looks great, no doubt about that, but I just can't decide if I like it. (and, is it just me, or are Steve's sideburns getting a little gray?) And the purple shirts have to go. They are just ugly. :-) But, back to the music... "Fill Me Up" is slowly starting to grow on me. It's not one of my favorites, but the more I listen to it, the more I like it. "Lord Of The Street" is another one that is starting to grow on me. I like almost all of the songs on here, actually. I'm not too sure about "Plenty Lovin'" though...I'm just not a Des'ree fan. Maybe I'd like the song better if it was a duet with someone else, I don't know. As of right now, "Real Love" is my favorite song...I love the bridge. But, all in all, I love the album. It's nice to hear something new from Steve. But, I still haven't heard "Spy In The House Of Love" on the radio in the Kansas City area, which is kind of disappointing. I'm hoping that maybe with the album out now, they might start playing it. Andrea 2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2*2 From: Shaft51@aol.com (Chuck) Date: Tue, 3 Jun 1997 08:56:04 -0400 (EDT) I've always had been under the impression that Steve had religion just by some songs (Every Day [Oh Lord], Holy Ground, etc.), but I never saw such a profession of his faith as in the J7 credits. Has Steve had some life-changing and/or traumatic experience that has prompted him to acknowledge his faith in this fashion? I think it's yet another reason to admire Steve for being a good guy as well as a talented musician. BTW, I love the new album. I especially like the Latin song, "Gotta Get Back to My Baby." Really cooks. Chuck 3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3*3 From: "Elena Iglio" Date: Wed, 4 Jun 1997 10:09:22 +0200 I have a very commonplace proposal, just to sample the ground - I'm sure a lot of other SPers suggested it also, but I will do that nonetheless: Asking (what a brilliant new idea!) 1 - What is your favourite J7 track? 2 - Which one do you like least? 3 - What is hopefully showing us Steve's future direction, if any on this album? My entries: 1 - Gotta Get Back To My Baby 2 - Angel Of Mercy 3 - Gotta Get Back To My Baby - (hopefully)..... Just would love to know the general feel about the album, and tasting a bit of SW older and younger fans sampling. I'm curious about people's ideas and different perceptions of music. Besides, like in William's case, the results could be interesting (exhilarating?? ;-) Ellie 4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4*4 Date: Wed, 04 Jun 1997 11:41:58 -0500 From: Renee Schiber In volume 77, Jeff Hawkins expressed skepticism about the potential success of Junction 7. In his note he made some salient and insightful remarks about the Narada and the choices for single releases. I agree that ever since "Roll With It", the choices made for single release have been awful and that much better choices were overlooked. Jeff even listed my personal favorites such as "State of Grace" and "Every Night" on "Far From Home". After I saw the "Spy in the House of Love" video, I feared that this poor choice of singles was happening all over again. "Spy" is an average dance tune and I thought that the CD would contain better. Boy, was I wrong. With schoolgirl giddiness, I rushed down to Best Buy early in the morning on 3 June to by "Junction 7". I was so angry that I couldn't even listen to the whole thing the first time through. Being a loyalist, I have tried a couple of times to listen to "Junction" all the way through. It is more painful in a sad way. What is this generic, disco, pop, syntho, new age schmooze sound. Once in a while there is a flicker of Steve's wonderful voice, but there aren't any meaningful lyrics here. Even "Refugees From the Heart" is much better than this. Perhaps Steve is making a concession to the fact that his fans are getting older (I will be 46 in August) and, therefore, feels compelled to ooze into the jazz- mellow stylings of the "quiet storm" kind of radio programs. If this is the case, then he should have had mercy on our old eyes and not allowed the lyrics to be printed in a tiny, white font on a shiny slate-colored background. I would rather have had him remake John Barleycorn must die. Even with a disco beat those lyrics would have had some meaning. A real Steve fan....Renee Schiber 5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5*5 From: email@example.com (Jack Santoro) Date: Wed, 4 Jun 1997 15:03:32 -0400 Overall I think it's GREAT! What surprises, its not at all what I expected. I think it's very refreshing. I think _Plenty Lovin'_ will do well on the R&B charts if it gets the air play it deserves. I just have a couple complaints. I wish there was more guitar solos and heavier guitar riffs. Also I think the CD needed one or two more songs like _Spy in the House of Love. I think _Gotta get my baby back_ is great. I liked the CD even more the second time I listened to it. It kinda grows on ya. 1. Spy in the house of Love - A - Classic Steve 2. Angel of Mercy - B - Great R&B 3. Just Wanna have fun - B+ - Classic Steve, Second Single? 4. Let your love come down - B - Never expected any like this from Steve! Where's Lenny? 5. Real love - C 6. Fill Me Up - B 7. Gotta get back to my baby - A - Again, Never expected any like this from Steve! 8. Someone like you - B 9. Family Affair - A 10. Plenty lovin' - B - Great Duet, Chaka who? 11. Lord of the Street - B - Classic Steve, Great piano Solo at the end 6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6*6 From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Thu, 5 Jun 1997 18:11:03 -0500 Well, I picked up the album after work on Tuesday (I couldn't write this last night, got 12 episodes of Fushigi Yuugi Anime to watch) and I've listened through it a few times. "Spy" is okay, but then I thought "Angel of Mercy" was kind of, well, weak (I kept seeing short Red-haired Super Geniuses popping up saying "I'm an Angel of Mercy!") But then things starting rolling really quickly. However, I'm not going to just go on and on about how great the album is. The thing I noticed is that the songs I liked the best were the ones co-written with Eugenia. Has she done work on any of his earlier albums? At any rate, it's good to see a couple working together. Eric 7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7*7 Date: Sat, 7 Jun 1997 19:10:10 -0500 From: email@example.com (Steven Robert Seim) Before I begin, let me state emphatically that there is a lot to be happy about with Junction 7. Any new music from Our Hero is one of the great pleasures of life, and J7 is no exception. However, I think this album does have a serious problem. One of the things which has irritated me most in contemporary music is the perversion of the term "rhythm and blues." The original and correct meaning of this term is black (ie. blues and jazz)-influenced rock & roll. However, today R&B is basically used as a catch-all label for modern black pop music. Traditional (true) R&B started with artists like Ray Charles, was developed further by the Spencer Davis Group, the Animals, the Stones, etc., and I would argue has been continued into more recent times by the Blues Brothers, Little Feat, Eric Clapton, and of course Our Hero, among others (I'm sure I've missed some obvious examples--please forgive me). Modern "R&B" however really refers to syrupy, sappy pop music performed by black artists (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, etc.). If this form of music has a 60's origin, it would probably be Motown. I think that unfortunately the double use of the term may be confusing to some people, and may result in the belief that there is a natural link or progression musically from traditional to modern R&B. And that (I believe) is the problem with J7--Our Hero has strayed away from his true roots in traditional R&B and has to an extent stumbled into modern "R&B." He has to an extent mixed the two forms. Perhaps he assumed that, since he has made his mark by creating "black" music, this was a natural progression. However, he has really (at least partially) abandoned traditional black music for the sorry excuse for music that most black artists are performing today. I lay the blame for this problem at the feet of our dear friend Narada. Not only has he overproduced the album, but far more significantly he has led Our Hero astray from his true calling--creating new traditional R&B. Oh, to have Will Jennings back again! Finally, please let me state that this soapbox sermon is leveled at PARTS of J7 only, not the entire album. Narada's sad influence is particularly noticeable only in Family Affair, Plenty Lovin', and the horrible female vocal refrain on Let Your Love Come Down. Steve has managed to preserve his true R&B on most of the rest of the album, although Narada's influence is still noticeable. Spy, Just Wanna Have Some Fun, Real Love, and Fill Me Up are great songs. Gotta Get Back... is fantastic--if only Steve had used that band and that sound for more than just one song! Hoping that Tony Orlando doesn't co-produce the next Traffic album, Steve Seim 8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8*8 From: "Bob Craig" Date: Mon, 9 Jun 1997 11:00:20 -0400 Well, needless to say, I was in the stores last Tuesday to pick up my copy of J7. The cover looked fine, though Steve looked a bit haggard. I assumed those 6 am photo sessions can do a number on you. I felt this CD was as important as any Steve has released considering the "flop" of the Traffic CD and tour, the time away from the industry, and the need to keep Virgin happy. So, after spinning this disk numerous times since then, I cannot help but reaching the same conclusion each time. Though Steve sings great and his playing is strong, the material and production on this CD is contrived and uninspired. He just turned in some highly visible appearances, on which he shined, but none of that can be heard on this CD. One of the best examples of this is "Family Affair". Came off great in LA, put me to sleep here. Personally, I do not fault Steve for this stiff, rather I look at Walden considering his background. Walden has spent much time producing the likes of Whitney and Aretha into the commercial arena with a sound that is a mechanical version of 60's R & B. Now, ten years after that, Walden is producing Winwood with a sound that mimics his own production techniques of 10 years ago. Walden has been quoted saying that "Winwood's last solo LP sounded like a Traffic LP, and the Traffic LP sounded like a Winwood LP". Maybe there is a reason for this. I can understand separating the interests, but this is crazy. Finally, to go along with this "I'm an entertainer, not a musician" CD is the word that the new live shows go back to his mid to late 80's live shows that contained no Traffic, 2 or 3 Spencer Davis numbers and lots of solo material in the R & B groove. Where are we going here? Granted he wants to perform smaller places now, but with the market being as finicky as ever, he may have no choice. If not careful, we can lose SW on the touring front all together, as I personally believe he would rather stop touring than live in the club circuit. Let's hope the spirit of Traffic returns shortly. I prefer SW the musician, not SW the entertainer. Come on Steve, "follow me cause it's good for you, that good old fashioned medicated goo." 9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9*9 From: "Les Jacobson" Date sent: Mon, 9 Jun 1997 09:15:12 -0500 J7=WWVL (Winwood Very Lite) I could go into lengthy explanations, but I think that will suffice. Les ------------------------------------------ END OF SMILING PHASES, VOL J7-1