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Good Dog Happy Man

45 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 18, 1999
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$16.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Following upon the success of GONE, JUST LIKE A TRAIN, Bill Frisell reunites with his much-admired partners from this last outing - plus others - for another session of inspired music-making. Joined by renowned drummer Jim Keltner and Lyle Lovett bassist Viktor Krauss, the core band is further expanded to a quintet with the addition of Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang) on dobro, mandolin and steel guitars, Wayne Horvitz on organ and Billy Cox on guitar, with a special guest appearance by Ry Cooder. With the gut-first feeling of rock, the subtleties of jazz, and the earnestness of country, Bill Frisell continues to create a genre unto himself.

Amazon.com

The live-simple equation reached in the title of Good Dog, Happy Man might lull the listener into believing that Bill Frisell's continuing vamp on his Nashville band is reaching for the quaintest sounds possible. But in truth, this mellow-opening recording is as reaching and full of yearning as any of the guitar great's other releases. He draws in the full-on bluegrass sound of Nashville with the more rock-hard crunch of that redoubtable effort's successor, Gone, Just Like a Train, which debuted longtime session drummer Jim Keltner as an ideal foil for Frisell's squishy guitar end runs around flashiness. Keltner's back on board, as is bassist Viktor Krauss (who began his Frisellian foray on Nashville), but the band has grown to include Wayne Horvitz on Hammond B-3 for several steamy tracks, Greg Leisz on steel guitar and mandolin, and Billy Cox on second six-string guitar. Frisell marks each tune with a uniquely decentered stamp, giving off a comfortable aura for new listeners and sneaking in gobs of weird twists and phrases. In addition, he samples in layers of squiggles in spots, making Dog sound like an ageless pop gem as well as the boundary-busting bounty that it is. --Andrew Bartlett


Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 18, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00000IXTW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,218 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By DC from TX on January 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I had to post this in response to the knucklehead that posted the "this guy's is a charlatan" review below. I am not a huge Frisell fan by any means, but the guy definitely has his own style, which is a lot more than I can say for most 'jazz' guitarists, who all play the same cliched licks they learned from their teachers at Berklee, GIT, or wherever they went to 'jazz school', with the same old cliched 'jazz guitar' tone that they all use. I am a guitarist myself (20 years+). I love all kinds of guitar playing, including jazz guitar, but I HATE snobby jazz guitarists that think if it aint blowing lightning quick bop runs over complicated chord changes, then it aint jazz and it sucks. I think Miles disproved that years ago, thank God. It's not all about how many notes you can play, despite what some swell headed jazz guy may think.

Anyway, this is a nice atmospheric and laid back album. Delay, looping and subtle 'whammy bar' bends give Frisell's guitar an otherworldy sound, while acoustic instruments bring it back down to Earth. Is it jazz? No, so what???? It's heartfelt music, it's what comes out of Frisell's soul. He's not trying to make music to impress YOU, jazz guitar guy.

Sorry for the rant, but snobby musicians really tee me off...
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Bruce C. Moore on October 11, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Most folks who can swim stay on the surface. Those who have discovered the joy of escaping gravity, and the freedom of breathing to a different beat, find a blissful release in getting beneath it all. If there were speakers in Hanalei Bay, this is what I would play.
Every time I listen to one of Bill's albums I want to share it with a friend. I'm always tempted, but I avoid the thought, "this is my favorite." I'm not comfortable with the whole notion of 'favorite' because it implies I can't enjoy anything else quite as much. But, as I'm listening this evening, boy am I tempted to give in.
So, what's so special about this one? It's loaded with the accessible essence of his music...the ability to push simplicity beyond elegance, and to reach a musical sensibility that is majestic and moving. You get a hint of his ability to deconstruct a melody without having to resolve what was once familiar. You delight to his fleeting references to the familiar without loosing touch with the gentle tension of discovery. You are bouyed by his chameleon like ability to fuse with his ensemble of stellar session players, ever changing and ever excellent.
So friend, I want to share this album with you. And I trust you will want to share it with a friend, as well. Dive in, the water's fine. No suit required.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is my first exposure to the world of Bill Frisell. From what I've read he's a musician of many hats: from jazz to rock to country. On this outing he very definitely mines a country groove.
Frisell is an accomplished guitarist, but there's nothing flashy about his playing. Rather than trying to dazzle the listener with lightning-fast fretwork, he invokes a style reminiscent of Ry Cooder on a 12-song set of mid-tempo songs. [In fact, Ry Cooder guests on the traditional "Shenandoah"--the only track on the album not a Frisell original.]
Throughout the album Frisell's guitar is augmented by session drummer extraordinaire Jim Keltner, bassist Viktor Krauss, keyboardist Wayne Horvitz and Greg Leisz on pedal steel, Dobro and mandolin.
This recording session has a laid-back, impromptu feel to it and the playing is impeccable. However, while this makes for enjoyable listening, it also makes you wish that maybe once or twice they'd kick things into high gear. As it is, it makes for pleasant enough background music, but doesn't necessarily encourage repeated listenings.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I'm fairly new to Frisell World, but I know what I like, and I've been carting this CD around with me wherever I go because I've not yet grown tired of hearing it. It's rootsy, yet unique. It's emotional, yet unsentimental. It's accessible, yet mysterious. It's familiar, yet unpretentious.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JG Miller on November 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is strictly instrumental music but Frisell is otherwise difficult to classify. He combines elements from nearly every popular form but this particular set sounds more jazz-blues-country-rock than anything else. (Even that is really too restrictive and not necessarily accurate.) This is not fusion. It is laid-back music that is easy on the ears and has been described as just a cut above Muzak. I think that's somewhat harsh but I do find myself listening to this cd while writing or reading or driving or staring out the window at the rain. It has also been said that Frisell plays the guitar like Miles Davis plays the trumpet. That's reasonable but don't infer from it that he composes or innovates like Miles Davis. Frisell uses a tape loop technique developed by Robert Fripp (King Crimson's guitar player) and Brian Eno, who would likely describe Frisell's music as mildly ambient. Jim Keltner is, as he always has been, superbly supportive and Greg Leisz's contribution is nearly perfect.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Stevenson (gsteven402@aol.com) on October 30, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I've been a fan of Frisell's music since the beginning with In Line. Almost all of it is worth exploring. For newcomers: maybe start with Gone like a train, then go through earlier period, maybe Lookout for hope up through This Land and Have a little faith, and then end up thru the Buster Keaton soundtracks to Nashville and here with the latest. You'll see an evolutionary process here, and all the truest artists (Miles, Jarrett, Metheny, Waits, etc.) go thru this. Not all listeners can keep up. Some are left asking "What happened to the ___ I once knew and loved?" But this latest outing is fairly smooth transition from Train. Just even more minimalistic in its focus on the song, the simple melody. It is decidedly less 'modern' than his earlier stuff. Almost hymnal at times; like traditional american music. Frisell is at the front of a new distinctively American music that is traditional at its core. The harsh criticisms purveyed by some writers in this forum are not from open minded music listeners but rather technicians. They don't "get" this. Maybe you will.
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