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Ray Manzarek has always been attracted to literate minded lyrics and Translucent Blues is no different, having songs contributed by Jim Carroll, Warren Zevon (both of whom worked with Manzarek before their deaths) Michael C Ford, and beat poet Michael McClure. It's not only Manzarek at the crossroads, one of the Warren Zevon songs has the music attributed to Rogers.
Manzarek seems to have musical references to The Doors, New Dodge City Blues has undercurrents of Love Her Madly. Is Fives and Ones a reference to The Doors 5 to1? Maybe, what it is, is a blues song with a traditional subject of having a roll of bills in your pocket. And the musical references aren't limited to The Doors, if you're familiar with Manzarek's post Doors albums from the 70's you'll also hear some musical references to that period of Manzarek's career as well. Some of these blues touch on jazz too. Kick, lyrics by Michael McClure, has a tinges of jazz in it, plus some of the most consciously poetic lyrics on the CD.
Neither Rogers nor Manzarek are going to be noted for their dulcet tones or mellifluous singing, sometimes Manzarek pushes his vocal abilities a little too far such as on Game of Skill. However, both have rough-hewn voices of the old blues men, and that's where Manzarek and Rogers might be. They're now the old blues men they admired in their youth. Translucent Blues despite the somewhat cool title for the CD is mostly uptempo, goodtime blues in the vein of Roadhouse Blues.Read more ›
Co-founder of The Doors, Ray Manzarek and slide-guitarist extraordinaire Roy Rogers have collaborated on projects before and have been very successful at it. However, with their latest project, "Translucent Blues", they have exceeded their past endeavors and set the proverbial bar at a new height. I literally fell in love with every single tune on the record.
I always knew that Mr. Manzarek had a distinct style as a keyboardist, but I guess I just never realized how distinct until listening to "Translucent Blues". His piano/keyboard playing stands out and adds an entire extra layer to nearly each song. Mr. Roger's slide-guitar is appropriately layered in, creating a sound that goes beyond blues or rock. It is unique and refreshing all the way through.
The two artists are true masters of their craft and they are at their absolute best here. To bind them together they have added Elvin Bishop's bass player, Steve Evans, and Kevin Hayes of Robert Cray's Band on drums.
If the talent were not already impressive enough, artists such as Warren Zevon, Jim Carroll, and poet, Michael McClure, have graciously contributed lyrics. In a word - Incredible! The lyrics from these very special lyricists add texture to the tunes that compliment each song and give them depth. No! They, the lyrics, completely take each song into another sonically pleasurable dimension.
These two musical masterminds share the vocal duties but I have to say, after listening to this record many times; why didn't Mr. Manzarek sing more of the lead vocals with The Doors? Oh yeah, two words, Jim Morrison! However, I truly believe Ray Manzarek's vocals are in some ways as good here as Mr. Morrison's vocals were a long time ago.Read more ›
Is there are touch of the Doors? Well, yes there are a couple pieces that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Morrison Hotel or LA Woman. But no way is Translucent Blues a Doors redux. The recording starts out enjoyably enough, maybe even a little commercial in places, until it starts to gain traction on Kick. From there on to the finish, it's mostly great stuff. My favorites are Kick, Tension, New Dodge City Blues, Greenhouse Blues, and a pair of instrumentals: the suave, jazzy As You Leave and the rollicking An Organ, A Guitar, and a Chicken Wing. The duo's sidemen put in some great performances, particularly George Brooks on tenor saxophone.
The CD comes packaged in a standard plastic jewel case and is accompanied by an attractive insert containing all pertinent album info, a few pics, and the lyrics. If you haven't heard anything from Manzarek for a while, check this out. Though in his 70s, he shows he still has the mojo!
This is just a great kick back and relax listen. Blues, rock, and roots rock maybe, with pinches of other styles? Talented artists and good recordings have me toe-tapping right along.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
saw these guys years ago at the Sellersville Theatre in Bucks County, Pa. Was very excited to get this and it did not disappoint at all. Nice mix of blues, rock & jazz. Read morePublished 3 months ago by dan suchodolski
this is cool needs more Roy Rogers sound I like the blues and this is half with to the bluesPublished on February 11, 2014 by john vukojevich
I bought this because I LOVE Roy Rogers and I wanted to see how he would mesh with Ray Manzarek. I felt Roy was obscured to a degree in this disc, but I have to say the songs are... Read morePublished on June 30, 2013 by eclecticwhyzas
I have been a fan of Ray Manzarek since the Doors were in their prtme. He hasn't lost his touch and teaming with Roy Rodgers made a good match.Published on March 19, 2013 by Joseph Allen, Jr.
This one's.... OK. Some catchy tunes but overall kind of .... OK. The recording is ...OK as well. I'm not sure how to classify this one, not rock or jazz but kind of pop, which... Read morePublished on March 1, 2013 by Pat
Big Doors fan here. I always wanted more from Ray then he has delivered. Music is better than good, but Ray on the vocals makes this a one time listen.Published on January 28, 2013 by James A. Woronow
Roy Rogers has been a long time dependable blues man and this collab with Manzarek, who i didn't know, shows the power of each of them and the drive they produce together.Published on December 19, 2012 by Jay B. Fineman
With rock music no longer in popular ascendancy, it is easy to forget its history, including the fact that many of its greatest practitioners drew inspiration from the blues and... Read morePublished on June 4, 2012 by J. Ramsey