Monthly Archives: July 2009

Not A Music Journalist Listens to A Long Time Coming by Wayne Brady

A Long Time Coming
Wayne Brady

I was most familiar with Wayne Brady as one of the improvisational comedy actors from Whose Line is it Anyway and as a stage performer in the musical Chicago (which I did not see but knew he was in). From the work he'd done on Whose Line, especially bits that required singing, it was clear that he had talent. In 2008 he released a full length CD, A Long Time Coming. Here's my track by track opinion.

  1. Ordinary – This is a nice standard issue smooth R&B tune with smooth vocals
  2. F.W.B. – This is a catch phrase song, Friends With Benefits and was the first tune that I heard from the CD as it was in heavy rotation on the Michael Baisden radio show.  The song has a smooth vocal, with adult content and is the best track on the CD.
  3. Can't Buy Me Love – This oft covered Beatles tune is done proper justice by Brady.  The musical arrangement has a gospel tinge to it and Brady provides a sweet and understated vocal as it should be. 
  4. Back in the Day – This is an uptempo song about reminiscence, a tribute to the 80's with plenty of pop-culture references from that era. The music is fine, but the lyrics are corny.
  5. Sweetest Berry – This is your typical "girl you're so sweet" ballad that leads off with acoustic guitar backing Brady's vocal followed by the rest of the rhythm section. The vocals on this one are nice.
  6. A Change is Gonna Come – I always get leary when this Sam Cooke song is covered, but there was no reason to be on Brady's version. He sounds great on this cut, he channels Cooke a bit, but the vocal is really outstanding. The muiscal arrangement is true to the era of the original. I played this song for some of my co-workers who were in disbelief that this was Wayne Brady.
  7. I Ain't Movin – This is 60's psychadelica in feel and sound and Brady is singing about remaining steadfast with his girl, regardless of the circumstance. There is a break about 2/3 of the way through in which Brady speaks directly to said girl, which I could have done without, but overall this song has great energy.
  8. Make Heaven Wait – This is very adult contemporary in sound and is a beautiful but sad song about the loss of the love his life.
  9. All Naturally – This song has so much promise because of it's lyrical content, about how he appreciates the natural beauty of his girl, without all the makeup and frills.  Where the cut falls short is on the vocal and musical arrangement. This song's beat and lyrical flow is of the cookie cutter R&B male type. This song fails because he's a better vocalist than what this song gives him credit for.
  10. All I Do – many people cover Stevie's songs, some to great effect and some to great disappointment. Brady's cover vocally is fine but the musical arrangement is a miss. The music maintains the Stevie keyboards but it tries to have a swingy jazzy vibe as well that just doesn't work.
  11. Beautiful Ugly – This is a song about a beautiful girl that's done something very ugly to him. This is supposed to be a drama song, however it falls a bit short.
  12. You and Me – This is song describes the breakup of his family and the combination of the vocal and music works really well to convey the bittersweetness of the breakup.
A Long Time Coming had an average of a 5 star customer rating on which was surprising to me. This CD  was rated higher than Raphael Saadiq, Anthony Hamilton and Maxwell and I couldn't disagree more. This CD has some standout cuts, including F.W.B., Can't Buy Me Love, A Change is Gonna Come and a few others, but it falls short. Wayne Brady has got the vocal chops to sing anything, he's talented, however the musical arrangement on at least half of the tunes just doesn't match what I believe he's trying to convey on each song. I don't mind a mix of styles/genres on a CD.  This mix just doesn't work, which says to me, that there's a production problem. I'd give the CD three mics on the strength of Brady's vocals. I'm hoping that when he goes back to the lab, it's with a different production team that has a better understanding of him as a vocalist.
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Not a Music Journalist listens to BLACKsummers’ Night by Maxwell

Like many Maxwell fans, I breathlessly awaited the release of his latest CD on July 7. I pre-ordered on Amazon and ran to the mailbox everyday. is CD finally arrived over the weekend and I got a listen today. Here's my track by track assessment.

Bad Habits – The song is Maxwell sexy but the sound is a lot more organic that his previous work. There is an urgency in his voice but there's a difference. Maxwell is more matter of fact about his urgency, in the case of this song, the woman in question is a bad habit of his. The band is excellent on this cut. The sound is exactly the way you expect to hear it live at a club.  The horn section is reminiscent of Roy Hargrove circa his RH Factor recordings.
Cold – the presentation is a bluesy funky sound. Of course the song is about a woman, and she is cold and Maxwell can't handle it. Vocally he's holding it down and working well with the instrumentation.
Pretty Wings – is a pretty ballad type song. This song was the first song officially released, the one fans have been listening to for months. On my first few listens I thought it sounded like a pop record but in further listening the track gets better as it goes on. I really appreciated it more after watching him perform it at an otherwise dreadful BET Awards.
Help Somebody – This is a favorite for me on this CD. Max is talking about stepping outside of one's self to make it better for someone else. I'm not used to hearing him do these kinds of songs but this foray into message music is excellent.  The song is simple lyrically but the vocal paired with the music makes the listener feel the importance of the song's content.
Stop the World – I love this one. He's talking about how the world stops when he's with his girl. This a tribute song in it's purest form. Again, the presentation of the song is as if it is being performed live in a venue. Fantastic.
Love You – This is an up-tempo song with a slight rock tinge. It puts me in the mind of Purple Rain era Prince
Fistful of Tears – At moments this song is rock sounding and then a bass drops in to funk it up a bit. The song boils down to a girl who's left him in tears, he's effective at conveying his feelings.
Playing Possum – I like to call this song naked begging. For the most part Maxwell is begging this woman with only a rhythm section behind him with a drop in from trumpet. He makes the begging sound beautiful.
Phoenix Rise – This is an instrumental that I will probably play heavily.  This is some Kool Jazz Festival type music. The synth is very modern but the band puts it down in a way that great bands used to do back in the day. What I'm wondering is if this last cut is indicative of what's to come on his next release. If so the next one will be all about moving your body.
Overall Maxwell still has the sweet vocals, he's still singing about love but has changed it up with the musicians backing him that at least in my ear are coming from the traditions of jazz, blues and rock with a little funk thrown in for good measure. He's also expanded it bit by including a message song on this set, which I really enjoyed. Folks may complain about the CD's length, but I find it to be a really tight, "no skip" collection of songs, refreshing in the crowd of these 20 song and interlude Opus' that some artists put out these days, which generally only boil down to a five or six choice cuts. It's a great CD for those who are ready to stretch out in the direction that Maxwell is going.
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The Posterous Problem

Update: part of this is cut off. Under the Add IP address (A Record) below I have the address on the left and the posterous IP address on the right and it shows that when I log into

I registered a domain name with for my posterous and followed the instructions but am still getting this error:

Oops. We ran into 1 problem!

Try to fix these issues and try again.

  • Virtual host is not currently pointing to the right place. We found:

    Please set your DNS servers to the correct address (A record to 'XX.XXX.XXX.XX') and try again.

    I have it set correctly on, I think:


    Add more IP addresses by filling in the fields below. Please click Continue when finished.   points to    Delete   points to   points to    

    What else do I need to do?

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