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Cotton, Jeff: The Fantasy Of Realty

Here is a name that you may be familiar with. Jeff Cotton, under the pseudonym Antennae Jimmy Semens, was the guitarist in Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band for three albums - Trout Mask Replica, Strictly Personal, and Mirror Man. After he left the Magic Band he formed the psychedelic rock band MU which only lasted a few years and in 1974 Cotton left the band. That was the beginning of an almost fifty year break from the music business. I have to say, his first solo album titled The Fantasy Of Realty was a hell of a surprise.

Cotton played all instruments, wrote all the musical arrangements, and shared the lyrics with long time friend Randy Wimer. The music covers multiple genres - blues, jazz, folk, prog, and all painted with broad psychedelic brushstrokes. Cotton’s guitar work really stands out, as he uses a diverse range of techniques, squeezing the most out of his six string. Some might find his vocals slightly off putting but he sings with passion and emotion, nothing fake here, and I suggest his voice very much suits each song.

The lead off single “Does It Work For You?” is most notable for its growling bass and stunning guitar work. Cotton talks his way through the song, a quirky and enjoyable ride through chilled out psychedelia. “It Never Ceases To Blow My Mind” is a pleasant folk rock ditty with a subtle island vibe, followed by the guitar instrumental “Ivy” with its roots anchored in classical music. “Green Bamboo” is propelled by a simple rhythm and Cotton’s pleasant vocals, very melodic and catchy. The solo electric guitar is again, very tasty. “He Made The Eagle” begins with an exotic Eastern melody, delving into a more progressive landscape. Listen for the sudden shift in the arrangement, very cool to these ears. On “Elvirus”, Cotton turns to pure blues, his acoustic guitar and scratchy voice recalling the blues masters of decades past. A warm bass groove and sublime guitar work highlight the bluesy “This Gentle Earth”, another one of my favourite tracks.

With twenty-two tracks and sixty-six minutes of music, The Fantasy Of Reality is a joy to behold and is very much a welcome return to form from a musician who is as classy as they come. Bravo Mr. Cotton!

A Madfish Records release.

Track Listing:
1. Does It Work For You?
2. It Never Ceases To Blow My Mind
3. Ivy
4. Green Bamboo
5. He Made The Eagle
6. Elvirus
7. This Gentle Earth
8. All Things New
9. Cruisin’ Hamakua
10. Together We Sail
11. The Space Between Us All
12. On The Thread
13. Aloha
14. The Liberation Song
15. The Breeze Of Oblivion
16. Heavy
17. The Season Of The Awakening
18. Mother Earth Needs Healing
19. Together
20. Hear The Word
21. It Would Take An Angel
22. Clean In Nature’s Stream

Added: January 28th 2023
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist @ Bandcamp
Hits: 1131
Language: english

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