Sunday, July 6, 2003

Frampton brings guitar to the front on new album

Now, Peter Frampton's new CD, won't be out until Aug. 26. We've listened to a six-song sampler. Here's a sneak peek.

There are the power ballads he's known for, but Frampton, whose first Grammy nomination in 25 years came in 2001 for the instrumental, "Off the Hook," brings his considerable guitar skills to the forefront.

"Love Stands Alone" moves from a lilting acoustic ballad into a full-out, guitar-driven chorus and some clever wordplay in the verses: "Once I was captured by the fire in her eyes. Now when I look, I see the whites of her lies."

"Hour of Need" shows the darker side of the singer/songwriter/guitarist, in a song about heroin, originally written for Almost Famous and used in The Banger Sisters. "There ain't nothin' for me down these tracks but an ugly monkey on my back." Coming from the healthy, upbeat Frampton, that sort of addiction simply isn't believable. Great guitar playing, though.

"Not Forgotten" is more in character. It's one of several songs with a deep Beatles feeling.

"Flying Without Wings" opens as a flashy '70s arena rocker, honed to a fine edge by Frampton's bluesy guitar, before leading into another Beatle-esque melody.

"Greens" has a couple of meanings. With its funky down-home feel, some will take it as a reference to collards and ham hocks. But the edgy, haunting quality of Frampton's soaring, crying guitar recalls British blues master Peter Green.

Frampton paid tribute to his friend George Harrison with "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at the Taft Theatre's 9-11 benefit last year. He does a lovely job again, opening with a bluesy interlude before going into those familiar descending riffs, his vocals echoing Harrison's clipped style.

Larry Nager

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