Thursday, October 1, 2015

Stuart Hamm - 1988 "Radio Free Albemuth"

Radio Free Albemuth is the debut solo album by bassist Stuart Hamm, released in 1988 on Relativity Records. Hamm is backed up by guitarists Allan Holdsworth and Joe Satriani. The title of the album and many of the songs were inspired by the novels of Philip K. Dick.

Radio Free Albumeth is Stuart Hamm's most diverse and best CD. The follow up,Kings of Sleep, is also excellent but not nearly as diverse. The title track is an example of Stu playing Jazz/Rock Fusion and is even made better by Alan Holdsworth contributing an amazing solo. "Dr. Gradus Ad Parnasum" is a great reading of Debussy and is imitated verbatim by the bassist. "Moonlight Sonata" is another excellent reading of a classical piece and Stu captures the mood of the movement very well. Both are examples of the artist not allowing technique to overpower the tune but use it to capture the essence of the tune. "Sexually Active" is a tour de force for Stu. Slap and Tap abound in this piece and Stu even imitates sweep picking by sweeping with his thumb. The technique is mind numbing but,once again, the groove is never lost. Joe Satriani contibutes a funky solo of his own in this song."Simple Dreams" is a short song and Stu restrains from the pyrotechnics to show that he can play without overabundance. "Flow My Tears" is a borderline new age song but technique is abound in it. New-age influenced music has never sounded better and Satch adds another perfect solo to this piece."Country Music/Night in Hell" is another Stu tour de force. Many will recognize part of it since he plays a brief version of it live at Satriani concerts. Once again, Stu pulls out all of the stops. This Cd is essential for any bassist. Stu combines technique with good composition to give bassists plenty to work on in both categories.This is the stuff that Bassists dream of and any musician will appreciate.

Track listing

All songs written by Stuart Hamm, except where noted.

    "Radio Free Albemuth" – 5:10
    "Flow My Tears" – 8:23
    "Dr. Gradus Ad Parnasum" (C. Debussy) – 3:05
    "Sexually Active" – 7:51
    "Simple Dreams" – 4:05
    "Country Music (A Night in Hell)" – 3:45
    "Moonlight Sonata" (Beethoven) – 4:54


    Stuart Hamm - Bass guitar
    Allan Holdsworth - Electric Guitar on "Radio Free Albemuth"
    Joe Satriani - Electric Guitar on "Radio Free Albemuth", "Flow My Tears" and "Sexually Active"
    Mike Barsimanto - Drums
    Amy Knoles - Percussion on "Radio Free Albemuth"
    Scott Collard - Keyboards
    Glen Freundl - Keyboards on "Radio Free Albemuth", "Sexually Active" and "Country Music"
    Tommy Mars - Keyboards on "Radio Free Albemuth"