Saturday, May 21, 2011

Billy Joel, the Piano Man

Billy and I go back an awful long while certainly around the time I was in high school  and I've been collecting recordings by him ever since.
He was born William Martin Joel in 1949 in Long Island, New York formed a band called the Echoes in 1964 the year of the 'British Invasion and later on formed a hard rock band in late 1960's called The Hassles from which a duo with their drummer Jon Small.
In 1973 on the strength of shows in the Northeastern United States he signed a recording contract with Columbia Records  which led to his debut album album Cold Spring Harbour being issued. 
The first two cds by Billy I bought were An Innocent Man and The Bridge in their European issues following up with the Japanese cd made for Europe of Nylon Curtain, The US versions of Storm Front plus River Of Dreams and a minidisc (RIP) of Streetlight Serenade together with Greatest Hits III in 1998.
Recently I have acquired a couple of specialty label cds from Mobile fidelity (Mofi) of Chicago, Ill. by him and it's these I wish to talk about.
In so far as most Britons are concerned he kinda came to notice during Elton (John's) unavailability late 77, Early '78 but actually Billy went back much further than that but simply they'd not heard that early material.

Piano Man which remains one of the finest albums by a contemporary rock artist taking his observations on NJ life including the controversial Captain Jack that tackles drug abuse . As well it is worth noting this album is clearly influenced by Elton's Tumbleweed Connection as well as having a Western theme running thru it.

Piano Man is a fictionalized account of his own story working the bars, trying earn a dollar.
Turnstiles was the next one up and was the second just issued by Mofi which features New York state of Mind in it's original mix rather than the remix used for all previous cd versions as well as Miami 2017 and the epic Say Goodbye To Hollywood.
I was fortunate to borrow  the the Audio Fidelity 52nd Street which I didn't like  finding it too muddy so elected to elected to stay with my 1994 Sony Mastersounds gold disc.

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