Eddie Fisher - 42nd Street
Fisher spent the years from the age of 10 getting interested and
involved in music, influenced by his father.
At 17, he left home to follow his calling.
his guitar technique first in Memphis with Isaac Hayes and Steve
Cropper, among others. He
also toured as a band leader for both Solomon Burke and Albert King.
This is sounding good, right?
launched into the world of jazz through his association with the owner
of the Blue Note Club on, where else, 42nd street.
Appropriately, this gives the title for his sixth solo album and
the third for his own Nentu Records label.
opener Who Loves You showcases Eddie Fisher’s warm
semi-acoustic sound. I love
the percussion on this track. Some
of the keyboard work is a little corny – but no way does it detract
from that guitar sound!
is a rather grand ballad and here the guitar is struggling with a synth
bass which is too prominent for my taste.
That guitar burns though and if you don’t start to think of
comparisons with Norman Brown’s playing by now I’d be surprised.
like no blues guitarist escapes from writing a song with “blues” in
the title. Fisher’s Ah
Blues Thang is a great electric blues workout.
That synth bass chugs along underneath some guitar work which is
cooking! The more I play
this, the more I love it.
Jam races along on a funky synth drum and
bass track. It makes me
smile – the chord sequences are very jazzy and the clean-picking solo
makes we wonder why I never heard the talented Mr Fisher before.
think the same thing when the old skool vocal intro makes way for lush
George Benson-style scatting on Make Up Your Mind. This lovely ballad draws you in and the sax adds that extra
tension. Moody, oh yes, I
love this one!
the funky, swinging groove for Hotcakes.
The tempo is quite slow and the uncluttered production let’s
you hear exactly what’s happening on that sexy semi-acoustic. The song is really a jam but the lack of a tune to hum
won’t stop you turning it up!
Be There is really a soul tune with great
guitar, rather than an out-and-out jazz number.
I already drew a comparison with Norman Brown – and I’ll do
it again here. Eddie Fisher
has a monster sound and deserves a loyal audience – let’s start at
my house! I enjoyed the
female backing vocals here – 70’s old skool and lovely.
cut 42nd Street has a piano-led intro which builds to a moody
ballad with some intensity. This
song is pieced together beautifully and the bassline is subtle and
dramatic at the same time. I’d
love to hear this done with live drums and bass.
Smooth is a wake-up call after the dreamy
title cut. Very funky with
fairly crazy drums, just enough percussion and a killer melody. It’s a very staccato rhythm which would be good to dance
to. I can imagine a live
set opening with this song – the right bass player could put in a
jaw-dropping solo here.
For You Baby is maybe a little corny and a bit TV sitcom.
The solo loses its way a bit but, hey, I didn’t hit that
II is a more straight-ahead jazz tune
which is the most challenging number here.
This time the bass sounds like it came from four strings not a
synth and it’s complex. I’m
sure I can hear two-handed tapping on guitar here, but it’s not as
pleasing as Fisher’s clean picking style.
The song meanders too much for me but it does point to pretty
serious jazz credentials.
though I understand the reasons for it, I’m often frustrated when a
talented songwriter and player (and Eddie Fisher, let me tell you, is
both) provides all the instrumentation themselves.
Some of the “live” vibe gets lost.
This very good CD could have been a great CD – a guitar player
this hot needs a drummer, bassist and keyboard player they can trade
licks with. If you play 42nd
Street two or three times, you may find you’re wanting Ricky Lawson,
Alex Al and even Patrice Rushen in there.
Now, maybe if I won the lottery...
Records NTR 0012 – Producer Eddie Fisher
Reviewed by Chris Mann