Bryan Ferry: Let's Stick Together
Universal (Japan) UIGY-9686
Stereo Single Layer
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Review by Rick Kosmick - June 8, 2015
Although Bryan Ferry was the main songwriter for Roxy Music, his solo recording career was noted for his choice of cover songs by other artists. "Let's Stick Together" would consist of 6 covers and 5 songs written by Ferry but recorded previously by Roxy Music. It was an interesting approach to re-recording his own material that actually benefited all of these self-penned songs for inclusion on this third solo album from 1976.
"Let's Stick Together" is a pop/rock release with jazz, R&B and even cabaret stylings that works exceeding well in the context of Ferry's aesthetic sense for all the songs. Four of the Ferry written tunes are taken from the first, self titled 'Roxy Music' album and he changed the arrangements by initially stripping away the Brian Eno influence of electronic processing. This first album is my least favourite of Roxy Music's eight studio albums which I found 'cold' sounding in recording choices. For example, "Sea Breezes" finds Ferry turning this number into a gorgeous pop ballad on Let's Stick Together by injecting it with a very warm and personal feeling. And his song "Casanova" from 'Country Life' turns from a hard rock, guitar driven track into a smooth, slower tempo R&B melody dominated by some silky sax playing.
However, what really impressed me is how Bryan Ferry chooses to rock out on three cover songs: Shame, Shame, Shame (Jimmy Reed); The Price of Love (Everly Brothers); and Let's Stick Together (Wilbert Harrison). Ferry's normally mannered singing style becomes highly expressive as you sense this robust emotion introduced into the music as "Shame, Shame, Shame" has a this rock swagger and swing to it; and "The Price of Love" may not have those great soaring Everly harmonies, but Ferry offers his vocals as a counterpoint to some fine background singers. The superb instrument separation in the title song "Let's Stick Together" allows the raunchy nature of the sax to be beautifully toned with horns and harmonica for a very dynamic sound. From my perspective, he set out to make a fundamental rock and roll album that is outwardly defined by these rock-edged songs.
Bryan Ferry's vocals tend to be well centred and the stereo imaging is exceptional. The most impressive instrument is the bass, played by John Wetton (King Crimson, UK, Asia), that is always consistently full and very firm by holding the bottom end up in the musical 'pocket' (it is understandable why Wetton was in high demand as a session musician). Plus, there is a superior soundstage with depth. With everything added up, the SHM SACD qualifies as excellent high fidelity recordings.
The first thing I noticed in listening to this album were the well recorded nature of songs on the source tapes. For this SHM SACD, it was DSD flat transferred from the UK original analogue master tapes. It was edited in DSD by Manabu Matsumura in 2015.
"Let's Stick Together" is an album absent of art rock leanings but it is full of powerful pop/rock statements. I found Bryan Ferry's vocals to be particularly invigorating in his interpretation of the material. Although the songs as a unit may lack some overall cohesion, it is still a very worthy record. In addition, the sonics make this SHM SACD a bonafide quality release.
Copyright © 2015 Rick Kosmick and HRAudio.net