Most recent review Do You Remember Me? by Jerry Lucky at http://www.jerrylucky.com
Band: Wilton Said and Barry Brown
CD Title: Do You Remember Me?
Label: Independent Release (2018)
Rating: Grand musical ideas held back by weak vocals
If you’ve ever played around the world of Progressive Rock music you quickly discover that one of the objectives of many musicians is to write some form of rock opera. Ever since S.F. Sorrow and Tommy artists have looked to that musical form as a bucket list item to accomplish. Well Toronto’s Wilton Said who worked with Barry Brown’s lyrical ideas can now cross that bucket list item of his list with the release of Do You Remember Me? This eighty-one minute extravaganza is made up of twenty-one individual tunes that as you expect are all two, three or four minutes long. The subject tackled here is the complex issue of removing children from their homes to educate and assimilate and while they don’t specify in the lyrics it’s an issue that represents many governmental efforts including here Canada, Australia and Ireland. It’s a heady subject and the project get’s underway with a quite spectacular “Prelude” [6:00] which covers many of the musical themes of the project. The cast of character is made up of six vocalists with the music written by Wilton Said and performed by Said, Brown and Frank Heisler. Given that the very nature of a rock opera is to tell the story, the idea of being vague or allegorical doesn’t make much sense, as a result the lyrical direction here leaves little to the imagination. And as it weaves it’s tale of pain and suffering it is nothing if not direct. Perhaps a little too much so for my taste. In addition the vocalists are not all on the same skill level, which may have been intentional given that some of the characters were intended to be children. In the end it’s a bit of hodge-podge as the music is written and performed at quite a skilled level while some vocal parts don’t live up to that level. And that tends to take away from the not only the overall performance but also the following of the message. Still, like anything the more you listen to it, the more accommodating the ears become but initial listens caused more than a couple winces on my part. It’s an adventurous project and even with the shortcomings it’s good to hear the music of Wilton Said once again.