Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Loggins and Messina- Full Sail

Full Sail
"Full Sail", the third album by Loggins and Messina, is my second favorite by this talented duo, behind only their fourth album, "Mother Lode". On the first two albums they played primarily light pop music, with enticing bits of country and calypso thrown in to the mix to keep it interesting. On "Full Sail" they begin to stretch out with lengthier instrumental passages that have hints of country-jazz fusion. They would carry this to it's furthest extreme on the next album, "Mother Lode", before retreating back to a more pop sound on their final albums. "Full Sail" features probably the best song of their career, "Watching The River Run", as well as other noteworthy songs such as "You Need A Man/Coming To You" and "Didn't I Know You When". Unfortunately their artistic growth and adventurousness seemed to lead to a decline in their commercial fortunes, so they did not continue to pursue the interesting directions their music had been heading past the fourth album. FULL SAIL, as with the first two L&M albums, deals out a terrific hand of cross-genre styles, island music that would make Jimmy Buffett blush, intense instrumental jams that stuck pistols into the back of Traffic, and endearing ballads to rival Jim Croce at his own game in his own year. The album popped up even higher than LOGGINS & MESSINA and peaked on the charts in the top 10. Again, our college radio stations and FM giants had a ton of meat to eat off of. FULL SAIL even sported 1950's retro pop for the adult contemporary listener of the day. Not that that was a bad thing, nothing L&M penned now was "bad" and even their weakest songwriting put to test their contemporaries of the day. For a third time, Loggins & Messina showed themselves up with a whole album that could stand the test of time and today it is as entertaining and involving as the day it hit the streets. Kenny and Jimmy had full careers ahead of them, they are still active now and have a trail of hits and money-makers behind them both together and alone. They recently reunited (2005) for sellout crowds, and everyone knows that Kenny was the hit-man of the 80's and 90's, scoring top singles and movie soundtracks. Jimmy has been behind so many legends of the 80's and 90's you would be surprised to read about it all. None the less, after this album they would garner some positive critical and commercial praise for an exemplary live album and three more solid studio efforts; but this album, FULL SAIL is a third send up in a trilogy of 5-star perfect works of art. No one should miss adding these to their collection and depending on your own leanings, this one might be the best of three. Each of the first three albums had a slight slant in one slight different direction but the overall arc of the music is one stupendous body of work. LOGGINS & MESSINA was grounded on terra firma, FULL SAIL is light and breezy, and SITTIN IN held to a place somewhere in between. For my money, on a sunny day, if you are anywhere near water, or just want to be, pop this one into the car stereo and just cruise.

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