on July 25, 1999
for michael franks fans the newest release "Barefoot on the Beach" is like another wonderful visit from a family member with whom you'd like to spend more time.his lyrics consistently weave in out of a mucial web which continues to be spun by a who's who of contemporary jazz musicians.a case in point is the title track.after a short intro...the first few words...instantly its a franks connection.the long time franks listeners already feel familiar with the pilot and the vehicle..wanting to ride wherever the smooth ride is going. track three includes a beautiful duet with valerie simpson (of ashford and simpson).once again franks goes with an interseting choice of voice and the outcome is soothing...two voices distinctive yet in the chorus blend as one.(you may know that franks has also recorded duets with brenda russell, and peggy lee! long time franks fans (i'm one)will hear hints of musical references to some of his past work. but there is a freshness of application in each case.he continues to seduce his listeners to take journeys with him...regardless of how intimate or sarcastically light-hearted.and, with the end of each selection the traveler wants to be taken on the next excursion. with his new (and highly respected) label, franks would be well served to add a few more dates to his existing tour schedule.that will serve a two fold purpose. first,show the new label the continuous and incredible base of fan support.and secondly,reunite fans with a musical icon with whom we've grown over the years.
on June 2, 1999
Barefoot on the Beach, the latest release by Michael Franks is sure to be one of the best loved by his fans. Franks continues to grow as an artist and explore new avenues of jazz. With this release , he climbes gracefully into a sound that can be best described as 'traditionally smooth.' All of these new cuts combine very rich melodies of piano, vibes, and a terrific horn section. His new songs seem to embrace the more quiet and meaningful lyrics of albums past, with a more smooth sound. Not to dissapoint though, he still adds a few cuts that remind us of his earlier work-less instrumentation, and more vocal. His wonderful voice shines through!! A real please and a must for any M.F. fan.
on August 5, 1999
"Barefoot on the Beach" is just what we needed from Mr Franks. I don't want to hear all the nonsense that all his stuff sounds the same; don't most artists??That is why most of us continue to buy his music. Leave him alone. It is vintage and smooth, kool like an ocean breeze. I feel that it is his best since "Blue Pacific". He can count on me to keep adding to his bank account every few years.
Michael Franks was born on September 18, 1944 in La Jolla, South California. (Note: According to Yahoo, La Jolla is one of the best place to visit after a break-up!) A young Michael absorbed the literature of American standards by the greats: Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Johnny Mercer, plus the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole. At age 14, he spent $29.95 for a Japanese Marco Polo guitar. He studied English at UCLA. During that time, he was mesmerized by the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Miles Davis. In the late ‘60s, he relocated to Canada, where he opened shows for Gordon Lightfoot and worked briefly with the band Carnival, later Lighthouse. He cut his first self-titled record in 1973 for Brut Records. Then, he was signed by Warner Brothers. His first record on Reprise was The Art Of Tea (its title lifted from the book by Okakura) in 1975. His only charted hit was Popsicle Toes (43/1976). From 1973 to 2012, he has a total of 23 record releases (including compilation and greatest hits). Except the Dream box set in 2012, I have every Michael Franks CD.
Today Michael Franks lives with his wife Claudia in Woodstock. He is indeed the mystical, mellow messenger: the weaver of dreams. He is the wise and gentle poet placing passion fruit at the feet of the sleeping gypsy, transforming her mirages of amore into Tropic of Virgo moonlight she will cup in both hands.
Barefoot on The Beach is Michael Franks’ 17th album release, following departure from Warner Bros. This followed his last domestic release (excluding The Backward Glance Greatest Hits), The Abandoned Garden in 1998. It started with the departure of longtime Warner Records forefathers Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker. The superb Abandoned Garden, which was supposed to accompany a Jobim boxed set from Warner Bros. that never materialized, was Michael’s most-lethargic seller ever. Executives in control of “smooth jazz: radio’s most powerful constituency had blacklisted his recent recordings from their playlists, claiming he “didn’t test well” with their core audience, thus making it a Herculean task for the label to promote his music.
Michael Franks asked for a release from his contract and signed a two-album deal with a very enthusiastic Windham Hill Jazz Records, which had great ideas for promoting him on-line. His one Windham Hill album, Barefoot On the Beach (1999) contained “Mr. Smooth,” his acidic assessment of the deterioraton of radio, produced by Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip. More radio-friendly songs found open arms at some stations, and the album found its way to fans. Unfortunately, Windham Hill was swallowed up into its parent company, BMG. Michael was paid for a second album he never had a chance to record and has been living comfortably since the year 2000 chimed in.
The song listing (with album label & number, year) is as follows:
BAREFOOT ON THE BEACH (Windham Hill Jazz 11443) 1999:
01 Barefoot on the Beach (Produced by Chuck Loeb)
02 My Heart Like An Open Book (Produced by Jimmy Haslip)
03 Now Love has No End (featuring Valerie Simpson) (Produced by Chuck Loeb)
04 The Fountain of Youth (Produced by Jimmy Haslip)
05 When You Smiled at Me (Produced by Chuck Loeb)
06 Double Talk (Produced by Chuck Loeb)
07 Every Time She Whispers (Produced by Chuck Loeb)
08 Why Spring Ain’t Here (Produced by Jimmy Haslip)
09 A Walk In The Rain (Produced by Chuck Loeb)
10 Mr. Smooth (Produced by Jimmy Haslip)
11 Like Moon Behind A Cloud (Produced by Jimmy Haslip)
Changing label and with the availability of modern equipments, the sound is simply wonderful. The audio was very well remastered. When I was remastering the entire Michael Franks songs, very little work was needed to make the final sound perfect. Great job! This is an example of what other previous Michael Franks albums on Warner should sound like.
As a fan of Michael Franks and also a completist, I have remastered all the 23 CDs in my collection. I labeled them as The Michael Franks Album Collection. Also, I have done an exhaustive research and came up with a detailed Singles Discography too, with 2 CDs, featuring 31 songs (containing all the a- and b-sides from 1975 to 1993).
Barefoot On The Beach was an amazing CD with finally great sound. It marked a return of Michael Franks to top form. It is really unfortunate that a second CD on Windham Hill Jazz Records did not materialize. However, his next release, Watching The Snow, on his own label Sleeping Gypsy Music was also excellent. As in the case of every Michael Franks CD, the more you listen to Michael’s voice, the more you will fall in love with his soothing voice, romantic lyrics and jazzy music.
The regular release has top-rated remastering and great vibrant sound already. There is no need to purchase the much more expensive Japanese import. This set is very highly recommended.
on April 21, 2000
"Barefoot On The Beach" is a solid Michael Franks CD. It dosen't rise to the brilliance of "Dragonfly Summer", "Passionfruit" or "Blue Pacific". Highlights are "Now Love Has No End", "When You Smiled At Me" and the brilliant "Every Time She Whispers".
You will notice that Mr. Franks is no longer with Warner Bros, now he's with Windham Hill. I expect to hear even more creative freedom in Michael's music. "Barefoot On The Beach" is a good trip, but we've been here before.
on May 17, 2013
I confess, I've liked Michael Franks from way back, so I just like Michael Franks?
His music is smooth, silky, sweet, makes you think of places, lovers, silly things. This one is the same.
Some might say, well, he sounds the same, but really he changes up, just you get the same feeling, and that is why you listen to Michael.
on July 16, 1999
Michael Frank's new release doesn't disappoint but there is no denying that there is a similarity in all of his vocal stylings (though I never tire of his wordsmithing talents). This isn't a bad thing because it makes you pay attention to more subtle things that he has incorporated into the arrangements, eg: Dave Samuels' vibes are wonderful (reminiscent of Mike Mainieri's work on "Tiger in the Rain"), Randy Brecker's muted trumpet on my personal favourite "A walk in the rain" makes me visualize the scenes, listen to Steve Khan and Chuck Loeb segue their guitar work between Wes Montgomery-ish stylings and rock-tinged stylings on "The fountain of youth" and "Every time she whispers", respectively, even MF's vocal scat on "mr. Smooth" is new and fun. Frank's ability to cross-over between jazz and pop stylings has always been something I've enjoyed and he repeats it here effectively. On "the moon behind a cloud", I found myself wondering what it would sound like if Mark Knopfler had done the lead guitar work... While the album won't replace my personal favourites - The Art of Tea, Blue PAcific and Dragonfly Summer, it is still well worth a listen... and then a few more listens.
on March 9, 2016
This one is tough...I pop in Time Together and the Rio CD, and I end up going back to this one...I would call this one his last foray in to smooth jazz or 'city' jazz. While keeping tru to his ever-wide range of choral varieties, he still incorporates that radio friendly format, particularly on tracks such as Double Talk and When She Whispers. This one falls in line with Camera from 1985 and Passion Fruit. Basically,. I'm not a fan of the move to Rio and Jobim and all the samba beats and rhythms...hoping his next one incorporates more of the full ensemble sound and less of the solo acoustic.
Love the horn blend on When she whispers, the alto, flugel and trombone is neat
on June 7, 1999
New movies from George Lucas and Mike Myers, and a new CD from Michael Franks? The summer of 1999 is starting out better than any that I can remember for quite some time. "Barefoot On The Beach" is as good as any of Mr. Franks previous efforts except maybe my favorite, "The Art Of Tea". In his latest effort, almost every track seems to have enough "hooks" to snare him at least heavy rotation on the smooth jazz stations, especially my three favoites, "Mr. Smooth", "Barefoot On The Beach", and "The Fountain Of Youth". I have waited a long time for a new release from Franks and his usual strong band of musicians, and could not be more happy with this latest effort. It is impossible to sit in "my Benz" and not play this CD over and over like a mental patient. Buy it! play it! enjoy it!