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Familiar Stranger

Russell Taylor

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Customer Reviews

If I do say so myself!

I first met Phyl Fraser at a monastery on the edge of California's Mojave Desert when I was just 22. She was 56 -- or 53 (much to Phyl's dismay, I always got that wrong). It was a friendship made in heaven -- well, heaven adjacent. That Summer, while visiting Phyl at her London flat, she played me a vinyl record of five songs she'd written and had recorded 20 years earlier. As we listened to the scratchy, hiss-and-pop laden recording, Phyl told me how she'd never really been satisfied by the 60s Pop arrangements, but that, sadly, this single well-worn record, along with an envelope of smudged and faded lead sheets, was all that remained of a time in her life when she was a songwriter. I made a cassette of the record and photocopies of the lead sheets, and headed off to explore the Continent for the rest of the Summer. And so the years go by... In late 2004/early 2005, as a surprise for Phyl's 74th Birthday (I finally did figure out the age thing), I went into the studio with my tireless Musical Director and Arranger, David Snyder, and some very talented session musicians, and recorded these five songs what my friend Phyl wrote. One CD went to her on her birthday. The other 999 are for you folks!

A touch of Legrand, with a new American voice

These songs evoke a romantic evening by the Seine, or a lonely walk by the Thames. Simply sung with quiet assurance by Russell Taylor, Fraser's songs come alive in very subtle tones of pathos and longing. It's a shame such original material hasn't reached a wider audience - one hopes this won't be the last we hear of Phyl Fraser's music. Perfectly suited for a New York cabaret or a classy European cafe, these songs should stand the test of time. Great production values, excellent musicians and inventive arrangements compliment every track on this EP. It's quite a find.

Familiar Stranger, Russell Taylor
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  • $4.95
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: Jun 09, 2005

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