Band: Wilton Said and Barry Brown
Label: Independent Release (2018)
Rating: Grand musical ideas held back by weak vocals
If youíve ever played around the world of Progressive Rock music you quickly discover that one of the objectives of many musicians is to write some form of rock opera. Ever since S.F. Sorrow and Tommy artists have looked to that musical form as a bucket list item to accomplish. Well Torontoís Wilton Said who worked with Barry Brownís lyrical ideas can now cross that bucket list item of his list with the release of Do You Remember Me? This eighty-one minute extravaganza is made up of twenty-one individual tunes that as you expect are all two, three or four minutes long. The subject tackled here is the complex issue of removing children from their homes to educate and assimilate and while they donít specify in the lyrics itís an issue that represents many governmental efforts including here Canada, Australia and Ireland. Itís a heady subject and the project getís underway with a quite spectacular ďPreludeĒ [6:00] which covers many of the musical themes of the project. The cast of character is made up of six vocalists with the music written by Wilton Said and performed by Said, Brown and Frank Heisler. Given that the very nature of a rock opera is to tell the story, the idea of being vague or allegorical doesnít make much sense, as a result the lyrical direction here leaves little to the imagination. And as it weaves itís tale of pain and suffering it is nothing if not direct. Perhaps a little too much so for my taste. In addition the vocalists are not all on the same skill level, which may have been intentional given that some of the characters were intended to be children. In the end itís a bit of hodge-podge as the music is written and performed at quite a skilled level while some vocal parts donít live up to that level. And that tends to take away from the not only the overall performance but also the following of the message. Still, like anything the more you listen to it, the more accommodating the ears become but initial listens caused more than a couple winces on my part. Itís an adventurous project and even with the shortcomings itís good to hear the music of Wilton Said once again.