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Best of Michael Franks: A Backward Glance CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This crossover star mixed smooth jazz, soft rock and Latin flavors to the delight of fans from the '70s to the '90s and beyond. This anthology covers all those years, bringing you his 1976 pop hit Popsicle Toes plus Eggplant; Tiger in the Rain; Soul Mate; Island Life; Baseball; Hourglass , and more!
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 28, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Rhino Flashback
  • ASIN: B002F3BOWI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,887 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If you haven't cottoned on to Michael Franks by now, it's time you wised up.
I heard "The Art of Tea" and "Sleeping Gypsy" at the one sitting in the late Seventies. I became an instant addict.
Eventually, my Michael Franks RECORD collection included every one of his albums. I'm now in the process of replacing the older ones with CDs.
I've only ever done that with a handful of discs (Pet Sounds, Sergeant Peppers, some Kenny Rankin stuff, and Miles' Quiet Nights ... oh yeah and Sinatra and Jobim)
Anyway, the Franks repertoire is cool, hip and sexy-smart. There's a hypnotic quality to the grooves - they seem familiar and you swear you've heard them somewhere else before. The lyrics are quirky, observational and intelligent - most of all intelligent.
Image Blossom Dearie a hundred years younger. If you love Blossom, you'll love Michael Franks.
If you've not traveled down the Franks road, then this greatest hits collection is a fair place to start.
But there's a danger here. Once sampled, you may find yourself on the right side of a Michael Franks' addiction.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The above thought occurred to me when Como's passing coincided with a recent spell of Michael Franks listening on my part. My first impression of Franks was that, despite his skill at songwriting, he was a bit of a lightweight--I asked myself; "Who says jazz needs its own John Sebastian?" Anyone who has that initial reaction to Franks should do what I did--let him grow on you. It isn't an easy thing to do for rock fans, who are used to the first impression either hitting you or missing you by a mile--we're used to being figuratively smacked upside the head by our entertainers. But this album's a good start--the song you might already know is love song cum geography lesson "Popsicle Toes". Who can argue with the cleverness of a song that says the thing that turns you on the most about your lady is that she has cold feet? Which correspond of course to Tierra del Fuego? Franks' writing style is literate and tongue-in-cheek sexy and his talent for arranging shows the capacity to come up with whatever fits the song, rather than songs that all sound alike except for the lyrics and melody a la Barry Manilow. He can even come up with lyrics for another artist's tune (see "The Dream", based on the Yellowjackets' "Local Hero", found on his "Dragonfly Summer" as well as their live set). The singer-songwriter format is alive and well, and in Franks' case, better than ever. It's just that artists like him go more for staying power than short-term overhype.
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By A Customer on August 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Wow! I've loved Michael Franks' music since the 70's and this compilation expresses through each selection all my reasons why. It truly is the "best" of his magical, sensual style -- what an amazing collection on one CD! Every song could be considered his finest. It's delightful not to have to choose just one (although I'm quite partial to "The Lady Wants to Know"). Not only are you taking home Franks' playful voice on lyrics, but you are treated to Joe Sample's tinkling of the keys, David Sanborn's sexy sounds on the sax, Larry Carlton's fabulous way with his guitar, to mention just a few of soft jazz's greats. Would I recommend this CD? Yes, yes, YES!
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Format: Audio CD
I am a real hater of smooth jazz; in the old days people who hated jazz hated it for it's shronk-fests (think John Coltrane's "Ascension"), but now the hardcore generation know not of jazz's fire and only of its snooze-fests thanks the popularity of smooth jazz.
So why would I give a smooth jazz artist a fairly good rating? The reason is that Franks does create pretty sleepy songs, but the point of his music, unlike many other smooth jazz musicians is to be interestingly lyrical. He doesn't have very cliched song ideas (who would sing about popsicle toes and tigers in the rain?) and that is what makes him memorable. Just like real jazz artists attempt to amaze the audience with their creative improvising, Franks marvels us with his witty and metaphore-rich lyrics. Isn't that what jazz is about, pushing the boundaries? Well done Franks, you have proved that a genre that is so often so boring can have true artists.
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Format: Audio CD
Subtle vocals, understated instrumentation, warmth and intimacy...Michael Franks is the quintissential adult contemporary artist: clever enough to win jazz listeners and slick enough to lure pop fans. This wonderfully comprehensive compilation includes popular early work like "Popsicle Toes" and "The Lady Wants to Know" as well as later, radio-friendly fodder like "Your Secret's Safe With Me" and "When I Give My Love to You." Some tunes (notably "The Art of Love" and "Soul Mate") are missed opportunities for commercial success when viewed in hindsight, and the drop-dead gorgeous ballads "Tiger in the Rain" and "Hourglass" are attestments to the strengths of Franks' arrangements, and production, and songwriting prowess. Oddball tunes like "Baseball" and "When Sly Calls" are forgiven in the face of such beauty.
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Format: Audio CD
This cd marks Michael's departure from Warner Brothers. Before saying goodbye to the label that helped his career get firmly established, he produced this excellent highlight of his catalog from Warner. This cd features at least one track from each of his albums. I feel this album makes a great index to his body of work, although Michael's singing style almost never varies, his albums each have their own theme completely seperate from the other with one exception, Michael's lyrical poetry prevails. Read the lyrics in the liner notes of the original albums, they make for a great read.
The mastering of this cd is beautifully sonically enhanced, it makes one wish all of Michael's cd's were this well mastered.
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