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Thread: FEATURED CD : Bill Bruford : Feels Good To Me

  1. #1
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    FEATURED CD : Bill Bruford : Feels Good To Me

    Credit for this featured CD : tdotdo

    Based on a CD received from the collection bequeathed to Progressive Ears by the late Chris Buckley (Winkersnuff)

    tdotdo's comments:


    Bill Bruford's first solo album. I like most of it. Highlights for me were Beelzebub, Back to the Beginning, Sample and Hold and Either End of August. Great guitar from Allan Holdsworth and bass from Jeff Berlin. And of course Bruford's drums are top notch.

    I'm not to crazy about Annette Peacock's whispery vocals. They kind of grate on my ears and ruined my enjoyment of Adios A La Posada. I'm also not a fan of flugelhorns anywhere! But the core members of the band make this worthwhile.
    Regards,

    Duncan

  2. #2
    To me, a very good but not perfect album. Peacock's vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, made harder to appreciate by the absolutely horrendous mix on some of those vocal tracks. The music is just drowned out. Sad the remasters apparently didn't correct this issue, so I never bothered getting them.

    It also suffers a bit from "solo-album-itis," lacking a real strong focus and direction. That would be corrected on One of a Kind, but there's something sort of "brash" on Feels Good to Me that I still like, despite its flaws. Good as it is, I sometimes tune out parts of OOAK that get a bit noodly. FGTM never gets boring to my ears, even if I don't love every second of it.

    Overall, an interesting, inventive album that I always wind up enjoying more than I anticipated when I spin it.

    Bill

  3. #3
    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    Anybody have the vinyl? The CD is way too bright. I don't enjoy listening to it. I do love Sample and Hold. A classic Holdsworthian track!

  4. #4
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    I really like the Annette Peacock's vocals on this one and she really lifts this one up and makes it something extraordinary.
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  5. #5
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    One of my favorite all time albums.
    At the time the album came out, it was fresh and exciting.
    It still is, to me.
    Some of the riffs sound like 80's newscast intro music. But it really was something new.
    Ms. Peacock's vocals didn't bother me in the context of the album.
    This got me into Holdsworth, just what the heck was going on there.
    Dave Stewart and Jeff Berlin are fantastic in their roles.
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    After the breakup of King Crimson and short session jobs at Genesis, Gong and National Health and small guest appearances on albums by other artists, the drummer Bill Bruford founded his own band, named after him and with illustrious names: Dave Stewart, Canterbury keyboardist extraordinaire (Egg, Hatfield and the North, National Health), guitar virtuoso Allan Holdsworth (Gong, Soft Machine, Lifetime), and the young bassist Jeff Berlin.
    Bruford the band's debut album "Feels Good to Me" consists entirely of compositions by Bill Bruford, with some support from Dave Stewart. This is relatively astonishing, since Bruford was not particularly noticed as a composer in any of his previous bands, neither Yes nor King Crimson. The 10 songs fluctuate between slim jazz-rock with intricate lines and Canterbury-infected (see e.g. the title track) flowing jazz-rock with a very bright basic sound. There are neither particularly rocky passages (which is mainly due to the fact that the guitar is used almost exclusively as a melody instrument) nor outstandingly bombastic ones - although "Adios a la pasada (Goodbye to the Past)" has a hymnic ending - nor very weird passages, although one or the other melody line cannot necessarily be described as particularly catchy and some very exciting chord progressions are built up, which then usually lead to a guitar solo. There are of course a lot of tricky rhythms, but also straighter parts and mostly lively, herctic songs are contrasted with subsequent calmer, ballad-like songs.

    It is generally noticeable that the album doesn't sound a bit like a drummer solo album; e.g. there is not a single drum solo... Bill Bruford's playing is always slim and compositionally useful and lives above all from the differentiated cymbal work and its legendary bright snare sound. Furthermore, the more moving tracks featuring the often hectic, torn melody lines from Bill Bruford's work on vibraphone and xylophone, which double the lines together with keyboards or guitar. Stewart mainly uses electric piano and synthesizer, plus some piano and organ, but not nearly as much as in his earlier projects. Allan Holdsworth is practically only responsible for melody lines and blazingly fast, jazzy solos. In the long run they sound a bit the same, but it's great how smooth and clean its sound is.

    There is also a splendid rhythm-guitar job that is taken over by John Goodsall, known from Phil Collins' jazz-rock project Brand X. Jeff Berlin's bass-work is consistently excellent and a source of joy. Somehow elastic sound, nimble fingers, but enough foundation: memories of Jaco Pastorius are awakened, and that means something.
    Two other guest musicians are still missing from the list above: Kenny Wheeler on the flugelhorn provides his amazing jazzy winds in two more ballad-like tracks. Add to that the 'singer' Annette Peacock, who almost messes up "Back to the Beginning", "Seems Like a Lifetime Ago" and "Adios a la pasada (Goodbye to the Past)". Mrs. Peacock annoys me more sharply, more declamatory than melodic, unclean spoken vocals, which - mainly in "Back to the Beginning" - is unbelievably mixed into the foreground.

    All in all, Bruford's "Feels Good to Me" is an enjoyable debut album that would be unreservedly recommended to anyone who loves vigorous jazz-rock, if it weren't for Annette Peacock's vocals. But anyone who can come to terms with the three songs on which she appears is well served.

  7. #7
    Member Just Eric's Avatar
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    The early Bruford releases, Feels Good To Me, One of a Kind, and Gradually Going Tornado are all must haves for me. Each with unique character and sound, and each stretching the boundary lines of Prog. I can earworm on demand any song from these albums. (My hidden worthless talent)
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  8. #8
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    I played the vinyl to pieces in the days, bought another, a japanese pressing, and recently also the CD.

  9. #9
    Member bigjohnwayne's Avatar
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    My favorite Bruford album. It might be my favorite Holdsworth performance, as much as I like Sixteen Men of Tain, One of a Kind, Road Games, and the self titled UK record.

  10. #10
    Postman just delivered the live DVD and CD- "BBC Rock Goes To College".
    Same lineup as "Feels Good To Me" with four tracks from the studio album.
    I'm digging it. Annette Peacock makes an appearance.
    Last edited by Crawford Glissadevil; 08-18-2021 at 05:10 PM.

  11. #11
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    To me, a very good but not perfect album. Peacock's vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, made harder to appreciate by the absolutely horrendous mix on some of those vocal tracks. The music is just drowned out. Sad the remasters apparently didn't correct this issue, so I never bothered getting them.

    It also suffers a bit from "solo-album-itis," lacking a real strong focus and direction. That would be corrected on One of a Kind, but there's something sort of "brash" on Feels Good to Me that I still like, despite its flaws. Good as it is, I sometimes tune out parts of OOAK that get a bit noodly. FGTM never gets boring to my ears, even if I don't love every second of it.

    Overall, an interesting, inventive album that I always wind up enjoying more than I anticipated when I spin it.

    Bill
    I have to assume the part I bolded was on purpose and not something to fix on remasters. Which is a shame.



    The instrumental pieces are pretty darn great and combined with my love for BB is the reason why I keep this around. OOAK is definitely a step up, IMO, but there is plenty to like here.
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  12. #12
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I bought the Bill Bruford's 4 CD Box Set a couple years ago and just opened Feels Good To Me tonight. I'm not a huge fan of the vocals but Bill's playing is so tasteful. Alan's guitar sounds excellent (definite highlight of the album). The wind instruments blend nicely with the instrumentation. Very subtle playing. This is really sophisticated playing. I like it best without vocals which there of fortunately a good amount of on the album. I'd say I'm pretty impressed on first listen.

    When I pulled out the box it was pretty dusty sitting in my cabinets for the last few years. I have now only played 2 CDs from the box set.
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Monet View Post
    There is also a splendid rhythm-guitar job that is taken over by John Goodsall, known from Phil Collins' jazz-rock project Brand X.
    If I recall right, Bruford said that he got Goodsall to play the funk rhythm guitar part from the title song after Holdsworth refused to do it.

  14. #14
    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    I love this album. It and One of a Kind are inseparable to me.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo Chang Ba View Post
    I have to assume the part I bolded was on purpose and not something to fix on remasters. Which is a shame.
    I'm not sure if that was on purpose or not. It may not be fixable in a remaster... it would probably need a remix, and I'm not sure of the original multi-tracks are still available.

    It sounds to me like they were going for the effect of having the vocal above the music, and just went way too far. Maybe the speakers in the studio lied. If it was on purpose, I agree with you, it is a shame. I'm not that picky when it comes to stuff like this, but this is about the worst mix I've ever heard on a professionally released album (only for those sections where the vocal is so loud, the rest is basically OK to my ears).

    Bill

  16. #16
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    Sound quality and mixing aside (and I agree, the mix on the album is downright weird)...but,

    I AM surprised at the negative Annette comments. I agree that Annette's voice is...let's just say...untrained (I guess). But here is the way I see it. You got four prog/fusion GODZ on this record. No point in me going into it about these four cats, they are indeed upper echelon musical entities. Everyone here knows this. The number crunching that is happening on this album by these guys makes the latest quantum computer look like a fucking speak and spell...right?

    And then you have Annette, with her alleged "untrained" (my word) voice. Bill, babe, what the hell were you thinkin when you hired her...are you out of your everlovin prog-tainted mind???

    Well...no, I don't think he was. I see Annette taking on the role of a...no...THE major disruptor. She is the oil to the other guys water, the snowball in the Sahara, the unbalancing FORCE that keeps the other 4 scientists on their toes, and occasionally knocking them off their game. To me, that is a wonderful thing. I LOVE disruptors. When someone comes in and upsets the status quo like this, amazing things happen. Amazing things did happen on this record, and if it wasn't for Annette...the character, the personality, the unmitigated chance taking that took place on this record would not have occurred, and we would not have the masterpiece that we are so fortunate to have now.

    So, Annette was the catalyst...the big bang if you will (minds out of gutters please). And besides, her New York hipster vibe is cooler than shit on this date. I was unfamiliar with her up till this record...who would have thought she would cross into my realm via a Bruford recording...not me, and I'm pretty thankful for it!

    best
    Michael
    Last edited by neuroticdog; 08-19-2021 at 12:16 AM.
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  17. #17
    Moderator Sean's Avatar
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    Another vote for Annette here! I love the way she pops up out of nowhere on "Back to the Beginning". I'm pretty sure it was meant to disturb.

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  18. #18
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    I'm about 50/50 like/dislike when it comes to Anette's vocal. I have a feeling that with the right material she's a knockout, but I don't think she's a good fit for Brufordian fusion.

    One big surprise I got from a late 70s interview with Rush's Geddy Lee was that he was a big fan of Bruford's solo work. That's probably how he discovered Jeff Berlin and then migrated towards playing a Wal.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

  19. #19
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    I'm not sure if that was on purpose or not. It may not be fixable in a remaster... it would probably need a remix, and I'm not sure of the original multi-tracks are still available.

    It sounds to me like they were going for the effect of having the vocal above the music, and just went way too far. Maybe the speakers in the studio lied. If it was on purpose, I agree with you, it is a shame. I'm not that picky when it comes to stuff like this, but this is about the worst mix I've ever heard on a professionally released album (only for those sections where the vocal is so loud, the rest is basically OK to my ears).

    Bill
    I don't know either, but I assumed it because A) no professional could have botched that so badly and B) I have heard other albums where the soloing instrument is brought a bit up in the mix (and/or the ensemble is pushed down). Obviously nothing as blatant as this (I assume the effect is meant to be subtle), but if it was used on other albums it may have been in the mind of the producers/artists when they were in the studio.
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  20. #20
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    I love this album. It and One of a Kind are inseparable to me.
    In many ways, yes. And I'd tend to take GGT as the last chapter of that trilogy, even if Holdsworth is gone by then.

    I'm not crazy of either three, FTM.
    I like them both, but there is too much litlle stuff that annoy me (like AP's vocals in this album) to make them absolute classics in my book.


    Will revisit all three ASAP
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo Chang Ba View Post
    I don't know either, but I assumed it because A) no professional could have botched that so badly and B) I have heard other albums where the soloing instrument is brought a bit up in the mix (and/or the ensemble is pushed down). Obviously nothing as blatant as this (I assume the effect is meant to be subtle), but if it was used on other albums it may have been in the mind of the producers/artists when they were in the studio.
    Of course it was deliberate. It was not an error, but a very definite choice made by Bill and his coproducer Robin Lumley. It was an experiment, intended to be extreme.

    Maybe a misjudgement, but they were very decisive at the time. Remastering certainly would not ‘fix’ it - nor should it.

  22. #22
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    I have no problems with Peacocks vocals or the way it has been recorded and mixed. Its an effect and it works.

  23. #23
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    I love One of a Kind but didn't get this one back in the day, the vocal tracks sort of put me off but there are still many good moments from the rest of the band. I might get the latest CD reissue.

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  24. #24
    Bought this when it was released at our local KMart. Needless to say I had no idea he had an album in the works at the time. So the surprise of thumbing thru the "B" section of records this one popped out and I bought it on name recognition alone. Still one of my favorites.. Still don't understand why Annette's voice grates of folks.. I have 3 of her solo albums, I am the One, X-Dreams and The Perfect Release and find something good on all of them. Maybe she's an acquired taste.. Back to Feels Good to Me.. this one and One of a Kind stayed on my turntable for months after buying them.. Bill put together a very tight band for both releases. It was great hearing Rock Goes to College after it was released. Never had the opportunity to see this band live while they were together.

  25. #25
    Member Piskie's Avatar
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    Bought this just recently, following acquisition of One Of A Kind. I've subsequently gone on to pick up Gradually Going Tornado/ The Bruford tapes. I like them all, but am still getting to know them so I will say no more at present. I have no problem with the vocals on Feels Good To Me- particularly like the one with a 'Midnight At The Oasis' ambience - can't remember the title offhand! I've become quite a fan of Dave Stewarts work over the last year and that was the primary draw for me. Good fringe Canterbury stuff!

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