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Good Dog, Happy Man

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Album Review

No doubt pleased with his countrified direction on Gone, Just Like a Train, Bill Frisell gives us a lot more of basically the same thing here — only with expanded numbers in the ranks. Bassist Viktor Krauss and drummer Jim Keltner return, now accompanied by Wayne Horvitz's understated organ and piano; Greg Leisz on an assortment of fretted instruments, including the Dobro, pedal steel guitar and mandolin; and on "Shenandoah," Ry Cooder's atmospheric guitars. The first tracks of Good Dog, Happy Man pick up right where Gone, Just Like a Train left off — low-key, perhaps too low-key — but tracks like "Big Shoe" and "Cadillac 1959" add a bit of swagger to the lope and "Poem for Eva" sports the best tune. Again, Frisell often captures a loose, evolutionary jamming quality in these sessions, playing the country accents off of his jazz sensibilities. Unlike its predecessor, though, you can't imagine this being recorded on a backwoods front porch, for there are some production tricks and distant-sounding electronic loops that give away its Burbank studio origins. Purists on either side of the jazz/country divide are hereby warned to back off so that the rest of us can enjoy this. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Good Dog, Happy Man

This and Gone, Just Like a Train are by far my favorite Bill Frisell albums, not to rag on the others though. Good Dog, Happy Man once again brings back the sweetness that Gone, Just Like a Train had. Personally, I think "Good Dog, Happy Man," "Rain, Rain," "Roscoe," and "Shenandoah" are some of the best songs Frisell has ever written along with some songs for Gone, Just Like a Train and his album with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones. Other songs that make this album a great and a must have for fans of Bill are "Cold, Cold Ground," and "Poem for Eva." Frisell has shwon some of his best work here no doubt, he's one of the best. I could seriously listen to this album all day (along with Gone Just Like a Train) and never get tired of it.


Born: March 18, 1951 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The defining characteristic of any given jazz musician is frequently his sound. The more control a player has over the nature of that sound, the more likely he is to project a distinctive musical personality. For example, a saxophonist has virtually unlimited physical control of the sound that comes through his horn, and therefore a wide range of tonal expression at his command, which partially explains the disproportionate number of saxophonists in the pantheon of great jazz musicians. On the other...
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Good Dog, Happy Man, Bill Frisell
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