is the appropriately titled jazzy/funky/bluesy CD by Wild ‘T’ & The Spirit. The band features ex-David Bowie guitarist Tony 'Wild T' Springer with Guenther Kapelle on 6-string electric bass, Peter Nunn on Korg (K-3) organ and Brian Lass on drums. A very special guest artist, the late and very great Jeff Healey appears here on True Blisswith his longtime friend Tony Springer. Springer played often at Jeff Healey's Roadhouse nightclub in Toronto and shared the stage with Jeff many times over the years at Healey's, as well as with Jeff in the UK and Europe.
Jeff's appearance on True Bliss seems to add a very special heartfelt presence to the musical proceedings heard here, since his unfortunate and recent passing last March from cancer at age 42. There are many other special guests on this CD, including Canadian jazz legend Guido Basso and vocalist Carole Pope, founder/lead vocalist of quintessential Canadian rock band Rough Trade.
This CD is 'mind-blowing' -- a true musical masterpiece! It’s been a pleasure listening to and reviewing this highest order of musical creations. True Bliss opens with some very ‘blissful’ rhythms and rhymes in the very appropriately titled, "Heaven Knows". Romantic feelings are easily conjured with lyrics like "Heaven knows how much I need you - yes I do". Guenther Kapelle’s heartfelt bass lines are refreshing to hear. Springer’s vocals echo the joy of being in love, and speak age-old metaphors, with lyrics like "Romeo and Juliet" repeating like a 'heartbeat.' Springer's incredible rhythm and lead guitar riffs go well here. The scorching guitar rhythms and raw vocals on "Jungle Love" are full of animal magnetism, courtesy of Springer’s exquisite guitar work and vocals. Wayne Brauer, the CD’s producer, provides some imaginative 12-string guitar rhythms on "Jungle .... " while keyboardist Peter Nunn’s K-3 (Korg CX-3) playing adds atmosphere.
"High School Confidential," a big hit for Carole Pope in the '80s, goes ballistic here with Springer's frenzied guitar riffs. The intensity of Springer and Carole’s vocals bantering back and forth with one another, is sensual to say the least! The frantic pace continues with a jazzy title tune "True Bliss." Nunn’s organ playing is extremely creative. Springer's inspired arrangement on this title tune, helps make it a real winner. It's jazz-drenched theme continues in "Love’s Holiday." Springer sings to his lady: "Baby, you’re the main attraction - don’t turn me down." Nunn’s K-3 soloing seems to reflect the lady's musical 'answer'. Wild 'T' replies the best way he knows how, with guitar licks so vivid, they seem to 'sing' from the soul.
The next amazing musical creation is the blues-inspired "Jenny." Springer tells his girl, "I’ve been missing you baby, for all my life .... Oh, Jenny, I’ve got a crush on you." Say no more Springer, the girl is yours! Nunn’s talent on the K-3 is magnificent. Adding to this awesome musical mixture is Brian Lass’ drumming, which is creative beyond belief. Springer’s jazzy vocals on "Jenny" can be soul-entrancing. In "Hard To Believe", Springer demonstrates a true, soulful spirit. His guitar rhythms jive perfectly with Kapelle’s bass lines and Brian’s talent on the skins. Springer's screaming guitar leads on "Hard To .... " are reminiscent of some of Hendrix's riffs on "All Along The Watchtower".
I think my favorite tune on this remarkable CD is "All The King’s Horses." The ecologically conscious lyrics in this tune speak profoundly of "Acid rain .... pushing a button and blowing the world to Kingdom come," but also offers a solution as simple and brilliant as "put your weapons down."
The familiar nursery rhyme verse regarding ‘Humpty Dumpty’ appropriately comes to mind, with the wisdom contained in its meaning, in regards to what will happen if we let the world’s downward spiral continue. Like Humpty Dumpty, we just won’t be able to put it together again .... literally!!!
"You’re The One", is a beautiful, romantic ballad where Springer tells his girl: "Lovin’ You Is Like A Dream .... I can’t tell if this is real." A true love ballad if I ever heard one. The George Benson guitar stylings from Springer that ripple through this tune are upbeat and inspiring. Their youthful enthusiasm is mirrored in Nunn’s fabulous K-3 riffs that blend so well with Springer’s guitar work on this very romantic ballad. Canadian jazz legend Guido Basso’s flugal horn and muted trumpet add real class to this incredible jazz-influenced tune.
The momentum slows down as Springer’s vocals sing love’s lament in "Can’t Get You (Outta My Mind)." He declares it all with, "Just can’t get you out of my mind."
Then the one and only late, great Jeff Healey plays out his musical frustration with guitar licks that temporarily alleviate Springer’s musical solitude. Tony springs back, singing: "I just keep hangin’ on." The beautiful jazz arrangements on "Can’t Get You (Outta) .... " lend a sense of urgency to Springer’s dilemma.
Healey again entertains us with some scorching guitar licks, that bring this great tune to a rockin’ conclusion -- the way Jeff did many times over the decades for audiences far and wide, including his memorable weekly Thursday Night Special Guest shows at his Healey's Roadhouse, which is still a thriving Toronto music mecca.
"Happy Song" is an organist’s delight, and is definitely upbeat and fun to listen to. Springer’s guitar licks get in on the fun, letting his fingers go their merry way on the neck of his trademark Fender Strat. Julie Long and Annette Waters sing harmonious background vocals with Tony, in a happy upbeat way. Mr. Basso’s flugal horn and muted trumpet playing resounds this same joyous feeling, in a sprited way on this truly ‘happy song’.
As a teenager decades ago, I was very lucky to see the Guido Basso Orchestra performing with clarinet icon Benny Goodman one summer night at an outdoor concert at the CNE Bandshell in Toronto, Canada. Soon after on another memorable evening at the same outdoor venue, Basso and his world-class orchestra performed with the all-time king of all that is drums, the immortal Gene Krupa. I consider myself fortunate to have seen both these performances as well as meeting Krupa after his show that night long ago. He gave me his autograph that night and a glossy photo of himself playing a Slingerland drum set . I still have the autograph and the photo. Krupa was a very friendly, down-to-earth person and took time with everyone who wanted to meet him that night. Basso, along with Moe Koffman, Peter Appleyard, Henry Cuesta and the others in the Guido Basso Orchestra, outdid themselves on those memorable occasions as did Basso again, here on Tony 'Wild T' Springer's True Bliss CD.
In "Hello" Tony sings "goodbye to yesterday .... hello to today" - a simple premise, but oh so true! Guenther Kapelle provides some very funky bass riffs as does Nunn’s K-3 playing. Tony sings the guitar leads, blending well with the instrumental leads. The George Benson influence comes through clearly here with Tony’s mesmerizing guitar riffs. Only a guitar master like Springer could bring this tune to a musical conclusion with guitar licks that are so brilliant they defy description. Well done, Tony .... !!!!
"Midnight Lady" is the final highly enjoyable tune on this masterful work of musical art. Nunn’s searing K-3 riffs, cut through and accentuate Tony’s story-telling vocals. Springer’s awesome guitar solo on "Midnight .... " soars through the cosmos of true guitar genius in every wonderfully created note from the hands of a true guitar master at work, as Tony Springer definitely is. The majesty of rock is very much evident on this seven-minute-plus tune. Snippets of "Beck’s Bolero" slip in and are taken to new heights of rock beauty by Springer. Kapelle’s bass lines follow Tony’s lead guitar parts studiously and imaginatively, demonstrating the special spiritual bond that Kapelle and his fellow bandmates in Wild ‘T’ & The Spirit share with each other on this incredible CD.
is not only the title, but also sums up the feelings this writer has from having reviewed this absolutely perfect CD. As Springer would say, "This is it - the real deal, baby!!!" Tony Springer, better known as ‘Wild T,’ has managed to search the depth of his infinite spirit of the muse to bring upon our own soulful spirits, the very essence of rock, jazz, blues and the good soul of a truly good person and fine musician and singer as Tony Springer is. The same can be said of Guenther Kapelle, Tony’s long-time musical sidekick, bass player and friend.
I believe True Bliss will stand the test of time and echo good things from good people through the music they love and share with us here on True Bliss. This same feeling I’m sure is felt also by the countless thousands of Tony Springer fans worldwide who avidly follow Wild T & The Spirit at live concerts in North America and Europe and on a higher level in their own spirits, souls and in their hearts. This CD is a true winner in every respect and I hope you go out and buy it. It’s invigorating to the spirit and soul the way the best music always is. Thanks, Tony, Guenther and the rest of Wild T & The Spirit for providing such beautiful music to listen to and enjoy. It’s much appreciated!!!!
I should mention in closing that all songs on True Bliss are either original Tony Springer or Tony Springer/Guenther Kapelle compositions; except "Hard To Believe" by Brauer/Springer/Kapelle and "High School Confidential" by Carole Pope and Kevin Staples. Oh yeah, one more thing ... all percussion on True Bliss is performed by "Dirty Sanchez".