"With the title track, Ben Sidran delivers one of the most insightful songs in a career full of them; in it, he rearranges the paradigm to suggest how we might buck up against situations that seem hopeless. His timing couldn't be better. His stylistic mentor, the late Mose Allison, would be proud." - Neil Tesser, Grammy winning author and Host of the syndicated program 'Jazz With Neil Tesser'. PICTURE HIM HAPPY is a response to the saying that our music is made by and for people who have chosen to feel good in spite of conditions: you often can’t affect what happens but you can determine how you respond to it. It’s a record that’s right on time.
Issued by Blue Thumb in 1974, Don't Let Go was Ben Sidran's third for the label, and his fourth overall. After his 1971 debut on Capitol, Feel Your Groove – a rootsy, bluesy, and jazzy rock record, populated by everyone from Peter Frampton to Jesse Ed Davis – Sidran began to indulge his jazz muse, and by 1974 the transformation was complete; he fit right in with Blue Thumb's funky, wide-reaching jazz, funk, fusion, and whatever-else-comes-down-the-pipe-that's-interesting philosophy.
Ben Sidran first came to public attention as a sideman on one of the early Steve Miller Band albums in the late Sixties. His keyboard stylings and flare suggested a background in jazz/rock fusion. His debut album, "Feel Your Groove" (also available on a Japanese Import CD) included a wealth of celebrated English and American talent including drummer Charlie Watts, but still did not deliver fully what Ben Sidran seemed to promise. This, his second album, was recorded after he resettled in Madison, Wisconsin (a.k.a. "Mad-City," then the Berkeley of the Midwest)and it showcased Ben Sidran's writing and performing in great form. It is quintessential Sidran, with stylings reminiscent but not imitative of his idol Mose Allison, and tunes that have held up extraordinarily well over the past three decades. This was Ben Sidran's true break-through LP, although best known to a relatively small group of FM alternative radio fanatics.
BLUE CAMUS is the follow up to DONT CRY FOR NO HIPSTER. If the latter spoke to the hipster’s inner monologue, this project reflects the external input source that the hipster has been taking in. The references in BLUE CAMUS go back almost one hundred years to Garcia Lorca’s poetry (referenced in “The King of Harlem”), Orwell’s fantastic fiction (found in “A is for Alligator”) and a bit more recently to Albert Camus’ philosophy of existentialism.
This is Ben Sidran's first Hammond B3 organ project. It's an instrument he has played for forty years, and occasionally (as on his recent radio-friendly CD Nick's Bump) featured on recordings. But CIEN NOCHES - the title refers to the fact that over a period of ten years he performed one hundred nights at Madrid's famed Cafe Central - is the first time he has paid direct tribute to the instrument and the club scene it spawned.
The album includes the original songs "Get It Yourself", an acerbic commentary on the rock and roll industry, and "Cave Dancing", an extended parable of jazz and the roots of religion. In addition, it features two Bob Dylan classics, "Gotta Serve Somebody" and "Subterranean Homesick Blues" along with saxophonist Bob Rockwell's "Drinkin' and Thinkin", an obvious party favorite.
Funky, funny, genre bending fugue state musical hallucination by a multi-instrumentalist songwriter producer…