Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Amazon Reviews: Danny Wilson "The Best Of Danny Wilson"

Say 10 Hail Marys
3 Out Of 5 Stars

For a band that only recorded two proper albums, Danny Wilson (a trio as opposed to a single person, their name came from a Frank Sinatra movie), this "Best Of" holds together very well. Combining the best from their debut "Meet Danny Wilson" and the less well received "Be Bop Moptop," you get the best songs from each album.

American audiences will likely recall the signature hit, "Mary's Prayer." The remaining 10 songs showcase the band's sophisticated mixture of immaculate production and pop-craft, taking obvious inspiration from middle-period Steely Dan and following the trail of fellow travelers Prefab Sprout. Lead singer and songwriter Gary Clark has a pretty good blue-eyed soul voice, and the lyrics twist and turn in an enigmatic way (again, teasing out that Steely Dan influence). There's the moody "Broken China" - here in a live version - and the peppier "The Second Summer Of Love" from "Be Bop."

The only problem is that "Mary's Prayer" set such a high benchmark for the band that it became impossible to replicate the success afterwards. There are a couple of B-Sides here, including a chipper take on the standard, "Get Happy." Given the intricacies of their debut and the fact that "The Best of Danny Wilson" is a mere 11 songs, a couple more from the debut would have made this a more satisfying collection. Given that you can still find "Mary's Prayer" on the debut and any number of 80's compilations, I can only recommend this to the most ardent fans.


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