Friday, January 06, 2006

For those who've heard "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," as performed by William Shatner...

"The Surprise Of The Year, October 9, 2004
Reviewer: Dean Esmay (Westland, MI United States) - See all my reviews

I would never have believed I'd give a five star review to a William Shatner album, and be serious about it. But I am serious. Kudos to both Shatner and to the producer Ben Folds for this brilliant little gem of an album.

For those sneering without hearing, I'll merely note that if you remember the William Shatner Priceline commercials, you'll have some idea what this CD is like. Only it's even better than those were."

- an user review of "Has Been"

Amazing. I recall listening in Robert's First to Shatner's spoken word performance of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, from his spoken word album Transformed Man. It ranked among such prestigious finds as the Yatta video, Daler Mehndi, and that video of Leonard Nimoy performing the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins in and around a rock formation with fly girls. So, it was humorous. No offense to Mr. Shatner, and perhaps I don't have a proper appreciation for the form that is spoken word. I believe it has some relation to Slam Poetry.

In any case, I was rather shocked to find from a coworker today that Shatner released another album-- 35 years later...that is-- two years ago! He collaborated with Ben Folds to produce an album, most of which was singing, with only one spoken word piece. There were also a number of guest artists, such as Aimee Mann and High Fidelity's Nick Hornby. And the review above's pretty good! It hit in the top one hundred of "hot" artists on some sort of important chart. Stylistically, Shatner relates it to Johnny Cash's later cover albums, in which tone and pitch are not as prominent as the performer's very particular vocal quality and style (Shatner's assessment, not mine).

On top of that, Shatner also received an Emmy award for his performance in the David Kelly series Boston Legal, in which he stars alongside James Spader, from Sex, Lies and Videotape as well as Stargate . I have seen one out of those two past films. Apparently he's pretty hilarious.

At any rate, I'm hopefully going get a chance to download/listen-to/watch either of the above at some point soon. I think the Folds connection also gives the album mad street credit.