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June 25, 2024

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Ed James
Meet Ed James! (JAM Records)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

Well, to anyone old enough to remember Capitol Records' old album number 2047, the title of this CD will provide your very first clue and then some. But lest anyone be tempted to dismiss "Meet Ed James!" as but the latest in a thirty-year line of Beatle retreads, listen again: The baker's dozen-worth of tunes herein, several previously appearing on some of the planet's most reputed new music compilations, total no less than forty-three full minutes of pop, rock, and even pop-rock at its hookiest, happiest, harmony-drenched finest.

Yep, from the very first bars of show-starter "Here We Go" through the final power-chorus of "How Was I To Know," "Meet..." hurls itself crazily yet confidently atop a Romantics-at-Ramonespeed fervor throughout, yet with a fine ear never less than paid to lyrical and especially vocal detail. To whit, "The Face On Mars" and "Say You Do" would sound positively stunning on the nearest stage (note to Ed: GET A BAND TOGETHER ALREADY!), while "Green M&Ms," to cite but the most obvious example, sports a killer construction worthy of the jingle dept. at Mars Food fer goshsake (which reminds me: someone get "Hold On Me" to the musical director at "That '70s Show" FAST).

But it's "Who's Gonna Tell The King," a wholly realized, absolutely gorgeous 3 minutes 37 of musical majesty, which proves best that Ed, "just a guy on a mission to write the perfect song" as he himself admits, certainly hasn't made many missteps on his worthy quest. Indeed, unlike the majority of such home-grown, one-man-band productions, "Meet Ed James!" sounds fabulously full and stunningly rich throughout -- no small feat indeed with one hand forever tied to the Overdub button.

But really it's the songs (dammit) that are most impressive by far. As well they should be, by the way. As a result, you can count me as way MORE than simply "impressed," and I just bet you all will be too.

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