Martinis and Bikinis [Bonus Tracks]

Martinis and Bikinis [Bonus Tracks]

by Sam Phillips
     
 

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It's no wonder Sam Phillips and T-Bone Burnett got along so well -- both are gifted songwriters who are also frustrated Christian moralists, often dealing with the world's many failings and frequent calamities in the context of well-constructed pop tunes, albeit with remarkable craft and no small wit. While Phillips showed she was a sure hand with a catchy melody and

Overview

It's no wonder Sam Phillips and T-Bone Burnett got along so well -- both are gifted songwriters who are also frustrated Christian moralists, often dealing with the world's many failings and frequent calamities in the context of well-constructed pop tunes, albeit with remarkable craft and no small wit. While Phillips showed she was a sure hand with a catchy melody and a thoughtful verse on her previous collaborations with Burnett -- The Turning (released when she was still billing herself as Leslie Phillips), The Indescribable Wow, and Cruel Inventions -- the two upped the ante considerably on 1994's Martinis & Bikinis, which in terms of songs and production found Phillips reaching to the Beatles for inspiration, in particular the warm but immaculate tone of Rubber Soul and the cooler, more visionary textures of Revolver. While the tunes nod politely to Lennon and McCartney rather than consciously aping their sound, the production, full of strict stereo separation, harmonies that pop out of the speakers, occasional Indian accents, and sharp, slashing guitars (played by Colin Moulding, Peter Buck, and Marc Ribot, among others), is pure George Martin but with a contemporary sheen, and while lots of people have tried to crack the code of the Beatles' production style, few have done so with greater effectiveness and élan than Burnett managed here. (It helps that he assembled an excellent band for these sessions, players who rock with subtle but real force). The music and the sound is always in the service of Phillips' songs of spiritual pursuits, but in this case, they're messages worth hearing, balancing judgment and compassion as she looks out to the madness of the world around her as well as the pain, fear, and loneliness that lurks within her own soul. If a better song was written about faith in the '90s than "I Need Love," it waits to be discovered, and the closing cover of John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth" comes close to topping the original in sheer emotional force. Phillips and Burnett made fine records together before and after Martinis & Bikinis, but they rarely applied themselves to the discipline of the studio more completely than they did with this album, and never with more satisfying results. [Omnivore Recordings released an expanded and remastered version of Martinis & Bikinis in 2012. The new edition doesn't radically alter the sound of the original album, but Gavin Lurssen and Reuben Cohen's new master does sound richer and better detailed, particularly in Phillips' vocals. The Omnivore release also adds four bonus tracks, but one is a remix of "Fighting with Fire," which previously appeared on the 1998 compilation Zero Zero Zero, and the other three are new acoustic recordings of songs from the album, and while the performances are lovely, in this context they're footnotes that only add so much to the package. Omnivore is to be thanked for giving this overlooked gem a new lease on life, but the original material outshines the extras, good as they may be.]

Product Details

Release Date:
07/17/2012
Label:
Omnivore Recordings
UPC:
0816651011612
catalogNumber:
101161
Rank:
136016

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sam Phillips   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Marvin Etzioni   Musician
Van Dyke Parks   Musician
Marc Ribot   Musician
Sid Page   Strings
Larry Taylor   Musician
Robert Becker   Strings
Benmont Tench   Musician
Michael Blair   Musician
Peter Buck   Musician
T Bone Burnett   Musician
Jennifer Condos   Bass
Larry Corbett   Strings
Mickey Curry   Musician
Joel Derouin   Strings
Richard Dodd   Cello
Don Heffington   Musician
David Mansfield   Musician
Colin Moulding   Musician
Jerry Scheff   Musician
Jay Bellerose   Drums
Eric Gorfain   Bass,Guitar,Piano,Violin,Kalimba
Daphne Chen   Violin
Lauren Chipman   Viola
Section Quartet   Strings
Steve Hodges   Musician
Sid Page Strings   String Quartet

Technical Credits

John Lennon   Composer
Van Dyke Parks   String Arrangements
Neal Avron   Engineer
T Bone Burnett   Composer,Producer
Colin Moulding   Producer
Sam Phillips   Composer,Producer
Joe Schiff   Engineer
Len Peltier   Art Direction
Patrick Milligan   Reissue Assistant
Eric Gorfain   Engineer,String Arrangements
Lee Lodyga   Reissue Assistant
Audrey Bilger   Reissue Assistant
Bryan George   Reissue Assistant
Dutch Cramblitt   Reissue Assistant
Jake Jacob   Reissue Assistant
Stephen Rhodes   Engineer
Paul Du Gré   Engineer
Nikki Nieves   Reissue Assistant
Brad Rosenberger   Reissue Assistant
Jarrett McGehee   Reissue Assistant
Jack Arenas   Reissue Assistant
Matt Graber   Reissue Assistant
Geoff Kerns   Reissue Assistant

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