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Monday, September 8, 2008

Jose Feliciano - 10 To 23

Name: Jose Feliciano
Album: 10 to 23
Year: 1969
Style: Spanish Folk
Similar Bands: Early Bee Gees, Sergio Menendez
One Word Review: Spanish-Orch-Folk
Based Out Of: Puerto Rico / NYC
Label: RCA Victor
10 to 23 - Cover & Record
10 to 23 - Back & Record

10 To 23 (1969)
  1. Amor Jibaro 2:35
  2. First of May 3:55
  3. Windmills of Your Mind 3:50
  4. By The Time I Get to Phoenix 3:11
  5. Miss Otis Regrets 3:47
  6. Little Red Rooster 5:25 /
  7. She's A Woman 5:12
  8. Lady Madonna 1:45
  9. Rain 2:24
  10. I've Gotta Get A Message to You 3:09
  11. Hey Jude 8:05
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0
Members & Other Bands:
Jose Feliciano - Vocals & Guitars
Rick Jarrard - Producer
Al Capps - Strings, Brass, Woodwinds Arrangement
Perry Botkin Jr - Strings, Brass, Woodwinds Arrangement
Mickey Crofford - Recording Engineer
Rick Ruggieri - Technician
Malcom Parkhurst - Liner Photo
Dick Hendler - Graphic Consultant

Unknown-ness: I had never heard of Jose Feliciano, although I've heard, as perhaps everyone has, his song Feliz Navidad. I did not know he composed it until writing this review. The quality of the album was what enticed me to buy it. Aside from the title's pastel colors, it is a pure white cover, with Jose's face in slight relief. The record was in very good shape, with the plastic still covering the sleeve. It just looks like a high-class record, and I knew it was pre-70's so I wanted to see what it would be like. I saw the Beatles covers on the track listing, so at least I kinda knew what to expect from a couple of tracks.

Album Review: The album begins with a recording Jose made when he was 10 years old. “Amor Jibaro.” Sung in Spanish, the guitar work is still complicated, and bouncy like a salsa dance, with a washboard percussion. The transition to the next song is light guitar work. There is no break; it flows very well into the folky, bee-gees-ish ballad “First of May.” There are woodwinds and strings in the background of the guitar picking and vocal playing. His voice soars over the music, and carries with it a melancholy sadness of loss. Next, “Windmills of Your Mind” begins with flute and guitar picking. A swirling harp fills in the background too. The minstrel/folk singing style moves up and down with emotional thrust. The strings pick up in the background as the song progresses. The song ends with some Spanish guitar picking and an emphasized chorus. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” begins as a quiet waking up guitar picked melody, like something out of The Princess Bride. It really does not evoke any feeling of a dry desert city like Phoenix to me, but a lush green forest with peaceful birds and flowing water. Perhaps he’s going through Sedona to get to Phoenix, then that would make sense. Toward the end of this instrumental, a jazzy rhythm is played on the guitar, but it is very short lived as the song ends quickly. “Miss Otis Regrets” follows up as another sad picked-guitar and swirling-strings folk-ballad. “Little Red Rooster” finishes side 1 as a jazzy, bluesy flute & drum block number. Later in the song, horns come into the background, further emphasizing the jazziness of the number. The guitar picking is less Spanish here, and more rock-r&b.

“She’s A Woman,” begins side 2 with a rhythm guitar and maraca drum beat version of this famous Beatles song. Later on, he adds woodwinds to jazz-up the song. In the middle, Jose goes off repeating the title as if he were a lounge-act in Vegas. A short, instrumental version of “Lady Madonna” comes next with more flute and guitar echoing each other to form the famous melody. Strings are added in the background. Jose’s guitar picking picks up the vocal melody. “Rain” is the next song, it is a beautiful song, the strings and flute combined with the bass-guitar create the atmosphere of a rainy jungle scene. I know I’ve heard this song before, and it appears that this is his original. “I’ve Got to Get A Message to You” is the perfect song to cover here. Because it is originally a Bee Gees’ song, it takes us back to the Folk style at the beginning of the album. It features a chorus of female back up singers supporting his chorus here. The album ends with a lengthy guitar and vocal rendition of Hey Jude. Slowly and quietly other supportive instruments are added, like the violins and flutes and harp, until they take over the melody, along with the vocals. The second verse, he interprets into Spanish. And instrumental part of the song goes on with intricate musical combos, with horns, and complex guitar work. Jose purposefully omits the Na-Na-Na’s from the song, and goes with a improve repetition of the title, and the song fades out before it runs the risk of outstaying its welcome.

This album is a nice, purposefully lazy visit to the realm of folk music with the touch of Spanish guitars. It incorporates a lot of musical accompaniment, making it much more than a singer/songwriter’s record.

Stand Out Track: Rain

Links:
Jose Feliciano - Allmusic
Jose Feliciano - wikipedia
Jose Feliciano - Official Site
Jose Feliciano - interview

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