The Bird & The Bee, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall & John Oates

Posted on July 5, 2010 by

Artist: The Bird & The Bee
Title: Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall & John Oates
Label: Blue Note 26234
Release Date: March 23, 2010
Genre: Pop

Our little bird, Inara George, told me that she and her musical partner Greg Kurstin believe that Hall & Oates are masters of their art. I first took it as a rather tongue in cheek statement in regard to other musical masters like Bacharach & David or Goffin & King.

But then again, George (the daughter of the late Little Feat vocalist, Lowell George) and Kurstin are children of the 80’s and what duo dominated early 80’s pop radio more than Hall & Oates?

I’ll admit to being a closet Hall & Oates fan, sneaking in Lou Rawls’ version of “She’s Gone” and the Dramatics take on “Do What Ya Wanna Do” at DJ gigs, but rarely did a true Hall & Oates song grace the tables. I never thought of them as masters.

Now, having the chance to revisit these songs through the voice of The Bird & The Bee, Hall & Oates crafted some fine pop numbers. They have nice hooks, catchy accessible lyrics and a touch of soul. And what George & Kurstin do to them isn’t too far from the original, but more or less of an electronic updating.

The radio-ready light pop voice of George is a perfect match for these compositions. Kurstin’s programming and keys combine with George for a sixties-cum-new millennium tropicalia feel. Her voice overdubs are breezy and Kurstin’s keys buoyant.

I’m not sure if the “Vol. 1” in the title means that there will be another interpretation by this duo of another band or they’ll do another Hall & Oates record, because there are room for both. They barely scratched the surface of the Hall & Oates catalog, choosing eight rather obvious hits and adding an original, “Heard It On the Radio,” a number about hearing Hall & Oates songs on the radio.

And they stick to the radio very closely, covering the radio edit version of “She’s Gone” and never going into a deep album track. “One On One” displays a depth in George’s voice, providing more soul than I thought the little bird could dish out. Other tracks include “I Can’t Go For That,” “Rich Girl,” “Sara Smile,” “Kiss Is On My List,” “Maneater,”and “Private Eyes.”

Hall & Oates were masters of radio pop in the late seventies and early eighties and George & Kurstin confirm and expand that.

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