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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Catalogue

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
Bryan Ferry invests considerable time and energy in cover albums (he should, considering that they compose a good portion of his solo catalog), treating them with as much care as a record of original material. He's always found ways to radically reinvent the songs he sings, so it's easy to expect that his collection of pop standards, As Time Goes By, would re-imagine the familiar. Instead, As Time Goes By is his first classicist album, containing non-ironic, neo-traditionalist arrangements of songs associated with the '30s. That doesn't mean it's a lavish affair, dripping with lush orchestras -- it's considerably more intimate than that. Even when strings surface, they're understated, part of a small live combo that supports Ferry throughout the record. He's made the music as faithful to its era as possible, yet instead of rigidly replicating the sounds of the '30s, he's blended Billie Holiday, cabaret pop, and movie musicals into an evocative pastiche. Ferry is at his best when he's exploring the possibilities within a specific theory or concept; with As Time Goes By, he eases into these standards and old-fashioned settings like an actor adopting a new persona. Since Ferry has always been a crooner, the transition is smooth and suave. He makes no attempt to alter his tremulous style, yet it rarely sounds incongruous -- he may sound a little vampirish on "You Do Something to Me," but that's the rare case where he doesn't seamlessly mesh with his romantic, sepia-toned surroundings. On the surface, it may seem like a departure for Ferry, but in the end, it's entirely of a piece with his body of work. True, it may not be a major album in the scheme of things, but it's easy to be seduced by its casual elegance. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Virgin Records

Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks
There are two headlines for Olympia, Bryan Ferry’s 13th solo album. The first is that it’s Ferry’s first collection of primarily original material since 1994’s Mamouna -- of the ten songs only Tim Buckley's “Song to the Siren” and Traffic's "No Face, No Name, No Number" are from another author -- the second is that among the many collaborators here are Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, and Andy MacKay, all original members of Roxy Music, their presence suggesting a return to the chilly art of Roxy’s earliest records. Neither headline tells the real story: Olympia is Ferry’s most seductive album since Avalon, a luxurious collection of softly stylized sophistication. Instead of pushing into new territory, Ferry focuses on refinement, polishing his signatures -- primarily songs so slow they seem to float, and also the occasional high-end piece of pristine pop-funk -- until they’re seamless, the textures shifting so subtly that when the chorus of “Heartache by Numbers” turns eerie, the change in atmosphere is almost subliminal. Such command of mood is a tell-tale sign of a quiet perfectionist, but Olympia doesn’t feel fussy; it’s unruffled and casually elegant, its pleasing familiarity reflecting the persistence of an old master honing his craft. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 7, 2020 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

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Only a year after the release of the first Roxy Music album, Bryan Ferry also put out his first record. A frenzy of material which allowed the British dandy to satisfy his passion for performance, plain and simple. On These Foolish Things (1973), the leader of Roxy Music covers Dylan, The Beatles, The Stones, The Beach Boys, The Four Tops and Elvis, whereas Another Time, Another Place (1974) sees him revisiting Dylan but also Sam Cooke, Ike Turner, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Joe South and a few gems from some 60s girl groups. Unpublished until now, this live recording from the Royal Albert Hall in London in December 1974 is essentially made up of these two solo albums. Irony, mismatch and the exuberance of the glam philosophy shine out during every second of this grandiose and bombastic concert which sees three members of Roxy Music join him on stage: the guitarist Phil Manzanera (insane!), drummer Paul Thompson and bassist John Porter. With a smoking jacket, flares, and long hair, Bryan Ferry delivers a performance as decadent as they come, kicking tradition to the kerb. Champagne, bubble bath and rock’n’roll! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released November 30, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

Bryan Ferry is the ultimate dandy, the singer that never gets old and who does as he pleases. The former boss of the flamboyant, decadent and glamourous Roxy Music has a profound passion for jazz, and particularly jazz from the ‘20s and ‘30s. He released his first solo album in 1977, These Foolish Things, then in 1999 the magical and charmingly old-fashioned As Time Goes By, and three years later he brought us his vision of The Jazz Age, both instrumental and vocal, of the aromas of Cotton Club, the legendary dancing of Harlem during the Prohibition and anthems from the Roaring Twenties. The dandy Ferry revisits this sepia-coloured jazz with a unique and timeless elegance thanks to his slightly husky, velvety voice.Bitter-Sweet journeys through the past, both in his vocals and instrumentals, sometimes swinging, sometimes melancholic, set in the ambiance of another era. His inspiration this time came from the German TV series Babylon Berlin based on detective novels by Volker Kutscher set in the 1920’s - the ideal setting for a blend of jazz, ragtime and blues. He revisits old songs from his solo albums and from Roxy Music (While My Heart is Still Beating and Dance Away) surrounded by expert musicians from his Bryan Ferry Orchestra. The ex-Roxy is an elegant, stylish and top-class performer - it’s hard not to get caught up in his travel through time. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | EMI Marketing

Along with Queen, Roxy Music started life as a glam band with a heavy prog rock edge before embarking on a long and successful career that saw a variety of musical styles touched upon. And while quite a few single-disc Roxy Music compilations have been released over the years (the best probably being the 1986 collection, Street Life: 20 Greatest Hits), most die-hard Roxy fans would argue that there were far too many highlights that fell through the cracks due to the limitation of a single disc. Hence, the 2004, triple-disc set The Platinum Collection. In conjunction with his Roxy work, singer Bryan Ferry also issued solo albums (which were quite stylistically similar to one another), and both are included in hefty portions here. Although never the superstars in the U.S. that they were in the U.K., Roxy Music and Ferry certainly had the tunes -- the early classics "Virginia Plain," "Do the Strand," and "Love Is the Drug" -- while latter day tracks as "More Than This," "Avalon," and a cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" (the latter of which was a U.K. chart-topper) showed the group eventually mature into a more mainstream band. The Platinum Collection bridges the gap between the countless single-disc Roxy compilations, and the exhaustive Thrill of It All box set. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | EG Records

When Slave to Love: The Best of the Ballads was released in 2000, there hadn't been a true Roxy Music compilation in print for years. Street Life and More Than This were both grab bags of Roxy Music singles and material from Bryan Ferry's solo career. While it's logical to assume that fans of one artist would certainly be interested in the other, the approach never made for a unified compilation -- Roxy Music's sound shifted quite a bit over the years, and their earlier, edgier singles never sat well next to the smooth balladeering of Ferry's companion career. However, Slave to Love is the first Ferry/Roxy grab bag to make internal sense, because it's thematically limited to the Roxy material that most resembles Ferry's crooning solo style. By the time of 1982's Avalon, the gap between the two had narrowed so much as to be virtually indistinguishable, and this compilation captures the elegantly romantic sound that came to be inextricably linked to Ferry. Slave to Love shouldn't be taken as comprehensive, even in this narrower vein (there are several excellent late-period Roxy Music singles missing), but as an encapsulation of one specific part of their appeal, it makes for a strong listen. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

Having at last laid Roxy to bed with its final, intoxicatingly elegant albums, Ferry continued its end-days spirit with his own return to solo work. Dedicated to Ferry's father, Boys and Girls is deservedly most famous for its smash single "Slave to Love." With a gentle samba-derived rhythm leading into the steadier rock pace of the song, it's '80s Ferry at his finest, easy listening without being hopelessly soporific. As a whole, Boys and Girls fully established the clean, cool vision of Ferry on his own to the general public. Instead of ragged rock explosions, emotional extremes, and all that made his '70s work so compelling in and out of Roxy, Ferry here is the suave, debonair if secretly moody and melancholic lover, with music to match. Co-producer Rhett Davies, continuing his role from the latter Roxy albums, picks up where Avalon left off right from the slinky opening grooves of "Sensation." The range of people on the album is an intriguing mix, from latterday Roxy members like Andy Newmark and Alan Spenner to avid Roxy disciples like Chic's Nile Rodgers. Everyone is subordinated to Ferry's overall vision, and as a result there's not as much full variety on Boys and Girls as might be thought or hoped. The album's biggest flaw is indeed that it's almost too smooth, with not even the hint of threat or edge that Ferry once readily made his own. As something that's a high cut above the usual mid-'80s yuppie smarm music, though, Boys and Girls remains an enjoyable keeper that has aged well. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Virgin Records

The greatest -- indeed, only -- irony of Bryan Ferry's 2007 album-long tribute to the Bard is that Dylanesque never sounds "Dylanesque." There are no solo acoustic guitars, no swirling organs, no thin, wild mercury music, nothing that suggests any of the sounds typically associated with Bob Dylan. No, Dylanesque sounds Ferry-esque: careful, precise, elegant, so casually sophisticated it sometimes borders on the drowsy. There are no new wrinkles, then, apart from a small but crucial one -- unlike his other records, this was recorded quickly, over the course of a week with his touring band in tow. This does give Dylanesque a comparatively loose, off-the-cuff feel, which is a bit of a welcome relief after several decades of cautious, deliberate conceptual albums, and gives the album its understated charm. Since Ferry never radically reinvents the songs -- apart from the sleek, sly propulsion of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" and a spare, haunting piano-and-strings version of "Positively Fourth Street" -- this is an album where all the pleasures lay in the subtleties, whether it's how Ferry phrases his delivery, how his road band feels supple yet muscular, how Eno electronically enhances a few tracks or how Robin Trower tears into "All Along the Watchtower." These are the details to savor upon repeated listens, but upon that first spin it's immediately apparent that the Ferry who made Dylanesque is an assured, relaxed vocalist who isn't sweating the specifics, he's simply singing songs with a band that offers sympathetic support. They may not push him, the way that Roxy did in its prime, nor does this have the meticulous ambition of his original work, but again, that's the charm of this album: Ferry has never felt quite so comfortable as he does here, and if that may not be exactly what all listeners are looking for when they listen to his work, this is the quality that will make Dylanesque a small understated gem for certain segments of his die-hard fans. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | EG Records

Rock - Released January 1, 1986 | EG Records

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The first compilation to attempt an all-encompassing overview of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music's career, Street Life was originally released in 1986, four years on from the band's break-up. And, across four sides of vinyl, it represented one of the most lovingly compiled tombstones any band could receive. Subsequent compilations have, of course, undermined it a little, but still it's difficult to criticize a collection that wraps up every significant hit single that the two parties enjoyed, from "Virginia Plain" and the oft-overlooked "Pyjamarama" through to "Jealous Guy" and "Avalon," via "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Slave to Love." The packaging is distinctive, with tempting stills from long-ago TV appearances mingling with all the relevant LP sleeves, and if you should ever be looking for a one-stop reminder of the combo's unerring brilliance, this is it. © Dave Thompson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 26, 2012 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

Over the last 40 years, singer Bryan Ferry has established himself not only as the frontman of one of rock's most iconic bands, but also as a unique interpreter covering the songs of others. The songwriters he's covered have been transformed into something wholly other by him. Ferry's ability to find and reveal what is hidden in a lyric, a musical phrase, or even a key signature is uncanny. The Jazz Age finds Ferry covering himself in radical fashion: he doesn't sing. He is credited as co-producer (with Rhett Davies) and "director." The Jazz Age celebrates Ferry's 40th anniversary in music by re-recording some of his classic tunes -- from the 1972 Roxy Music album to 2010's Olympia -- inspired by the sounds of '20s jazz. Ferry's looked deeply into the past before -- 1999's As Time Goes By paid tribute to the music of the '30s, an album of sung standards from the era -- but not his own. This set was performed by many of the same British jazz musicians who performed on that record under the musical direction of Colin Good. Musically, Ferry and these musicians drew on the influences of Louis Armstrong's Hot Sevens, Duke Ellington's Orchestra, Bix Beiderbecke's Wolverines, and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. But they also found inspiration in the heady historical era before 1929 detailed so intensely in the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Michael Arlen, and Ernest Hemingway. All 13 of these tunes have been wildly revamped and offer interesting textures: a bass clarinet and baritone saxophone are used instead of a double bass to carry the bottom end, but the music here is played so well, it doesn't feel gimmicky. All of the original melodies have been left intact, though tempos are often completely reset. The sprightly "Do the Strand" features piano, brass, reeds, banjo, and drums all competing for dominance (they were recorded live in the studio), and swings hard. "Love Is the Drug" is played as a moaning, bluesy dirge, while "Avalon" retains its sense of melancholy even as clarinets, trumpets, and piano commingle in a midtempo dialogue on different aspects of the melody. "Virginia Plain" is a fingerpopping dancefloor jaunt that recalls flappers doing the Lindy Hop. Given that Ferry doesn't sing on The Jazz Age, the appeal for casual fans is debatable. But for the faithful, trad-jazz heads, and open-minded listeners, the musical quality -- from expert arrangements, virtuosic playing, and the brilliant concept -- offer something wholly different and rewarding. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

Much like his contemporary David Bowie, Ferry consolidated his glam-era success with a covers album, his first full solo effort even while Roxy Music was still going full steam. Whereas Bowie on Pin-Ups focused on British beat and psych treasures, Ferry for the most part looked to America, touching on everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave the collection its name. Just about everyone in Roxy Music at the time helped out on the album -- notable exceptions being Andy Mackay and Brian Eno. The outrageous take on Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," with Ferry vamping over brassy female vocals, sets the tone for things from the start. All this said, many of the covers aim for an elegant late-night feeling not far off from the well-sculpted Ferry persona of the '80s and beyond, though perhaps a touch less bloodless and moody in comparison. In terms of sheer selection alone, meanwhile, Ferry's taste is downright impeccable. There's Leiber & Stoller via Elvis' "Baby I Don't Care," Lesley Gore's "It's My Party" (with narrative gender unchanged!), Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears," and more, all treated with affection without undue reverence, a great combination. Ferry's U.K. background isn't entirely ignored, though, thanks to two of the album's best efforts -- the Beatles' "You Won't See Me" and the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." Throughout Ferry's instantly recognizable croon carries everything to a tee, and the overall mood is playful and celebratory. Wrapping up with a grand take on "These Foolish Things" itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 17, 2014 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

On the album art of Avonmore, the record he released when he was a year shy of 70, Bryan Ferry showcases himself as a dashing young man -- a portrait of an artist not as a glam trailblazer or distinguished elder statesman, but rather caught in an indeterminate time between the gorgeous heartbreak of Roxy Music's Avalon and the meticulous solo work that came immediately in its wake. This is Ferry's prime, a moment when his legacy was intact but yet to be preserved in amber. Avonmore consciously evokes this distinct period, sometimes sighing into the exquisite ennui of Avalon but usually favoring the fine tailoring of Boys & Girls, a record where every sequenced rhythm, keyboard, and guitar line blended into an alluring urbane pulse. Ferry isn't so much racing to revive a younger edition of himself as much as laying claim to this particular strand of sophisticated pop, one that happens to feel a shade richer now when it's delivered by an artist whose world-weariness has settled into his marrow but is yet to sadden him. This much is apparent on Avonmore's closing covers, an oddly appropriate pairing of Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns" and Robert Palmer's "Johnny & Mary" that are both given gently meditative electronic makeovers, but much of the record explores the other end of the Ferry spectrum, where he's making music to dance away the heartache. He's no longer on the floor himself, preferring to watch with a bit of a bemusement, but this reserved romanticism suits him perfectly, particularly because Ferry and his co-producer Rhett Davies -- a steady collaborator since 1999's standards record As Time Goes By -- place an emphasis on mood but not at the expense of the songs. Naturally, what is first alluring about Avonmore is its feel -- it's meant to be seductive -- but the songs are what makes this record something more than a fling. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | Virgin

Frantic manages to touch upon virtually every musical style of Bryan Ferry's career. Ferry has proved to be as interested in covering other artists' material as penning original songs, and he straddles a smart mix of originals and covers here. Two brilliant Bob Dylan songs appear among the opening tracks: "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" sees a return to the eclectic, energetic experimentation of Ferry's early albums with Roxy Music as a lush modern swirl of instruments mingles with the singer's stylized vocals and throwback harmonica; "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" completes the Dylan pair, as Ferry intones with confidence and again takes up harmonica over Colin Good's rolling piano. The reverent Leadbelly cover "Goodnight Irene" reimagines Ferry as a kind of blues troubadour. "One Way Love" sees the Drifters' song reworked as a squall of distorted guitars and keyboards. Almost half of Frantic's songs originated from late-'90s sessions with Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, and Stewart is given a co-writer credit for these songs. Though the Stewart songs tend to favor edginess over songwriting, a few of them manage to break through the bombast. "Goddess of Love" is probably the best song about Marilyn Monroe since Kitchens of Distinction's "When in Heaven," and there's a passing musical resemblance to that great song. "Hiroshima" works like an ominous take on Roxy Music's synth-heavy Avalon period, with raging guitar dynamics contributed by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood. Roxy Music fans will find more reasons to rejoice with the superb album closer, "I Thought," which was co-written with Brian Eno, who sings backing vocals and plays keyboards. Some listeners might suggest that an album this varied has an identity crisis, but with standout tracks as glorious as the Dylan covers and the Eno closer, Frantic is a fascinating addition to Bryan Ferry's accomplished discography. © Tim DiGravina /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

Taxi shows a mature Bryan Ferry, suave and controlled, very much in line with his general career from 1979 on. The choice of songs to cover doesn't make for any surprises -- the same selections of classic rock, pop, and soul numbers dominate, with an interesting ringer here and there like "Amazing Grace." As with his other recent solo records, a cast of thousands supports him, ranging from the Grid's Richard Norris on synth programming to Brit guitar legends Robin Trower and Michael Brook, plus vocalist Carleen Anderson. All four feature on the opening "I Put a Spell on You," which manages the neat trick of sounding almost exactly like a Ferry original -- what Screamin' Jay Hawkins would have made of it is anyone's guess. The rest of the album takes a similar tone, either crackling with low-key energy or aiming for a more gentle approach. The former style turns up in some welcome guises -- thus the take on Fontella Bass' "Rescue Me," here benefiting from a quick beat, mysterious samples and noises buried in the mix and near-subliminal guitar. An overall highlight is the take on the Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties," which balances a certain winsomeness with a subtle air of threat, the music just beautiful enough on the one hand and just creepy enough on the other. Ferry's treated vocals, made to sound weirdly flat and compressed, heightens the curious mood. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 2, 1987 | Virgin Records

Hooking up with regular Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard as the co-producer of this album proved to be just the trick for Ferry. Bete Noire sparkles as the highlight of Ferry's post-Roxy solo career, adding enough energy to make it more than Boys and Girls part two. Here, his trademark well-polished heartache strikes a fine balance between mysterious moodiness and dancefloor energy, and Leonard adds more than a few tricks that keep the pep up. Five out of the nine songs are Ferry/Leonard collaborations; all succeed, from "Limbo"'s opening punch and flow to the cinematic (and unsurprisingly French-tinged) feeling of the title track. The atmospheric, almost chilling "Zamba"'s minimal, buried drums, soft synths and doomy piano, make it the best of that bunch. Ferry's best moment here is all his own, though -- the great single "Kiss and Tell," with a steady, bold bassline leading the way for his slightly dissolute portrayal of mating rituals and all they entail. Like Boys and Girls, the album's supporting cast mixes a lengthy list of session pros with a few guest stars. David Gilmour returns, but even more interesting is the appearance of another guitar hero -- none other than Johnny Marr, hot on the heels of the Smiths' dissolution. He took the music of a Smiths instrumental, "Money Changes Everything," and made it the basis of a full collaboration, "The Right Stuff." Marr shows a little more fluidity than usual, likely thanks to the rhythm section's smooth, effortless groove, while Ferry steps to the fore with gusto. In sum, a great listen from start to finish. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

As Roxy approached its mid- to late-'70s hibernation, Ferry came up with another fine solo album, though one of his most curious. With Thompson and Wetton joined by U.K. journeyman guitarist Chris Spedding, Ferry recorded an effort that seemed as much of a bit of creative therapy as it was music for its own sake. On the one hand, he followed the initial formula established for his solo work, looking back to earlier rock, pop, and soul classics with gentle gusto. The title track itself, a cover of the fluke Wilbert Harrison '60s hit, scored Ferry a deserved British hit single, with great sax work from Chris Mercer and Mel Collins and a driving, full band performance. Ferry's delivery is one of his best, right down to the yelps, and the whole thing chugs with post-glam power. Other winners include the Everly Brothers' "The Price of Love" and the Beatles' "It's Only Love," delivered with lead keyboards from Ferry and a nice, full arrangement. On the other hand, half of the album consisted of Ferry originals -- but, bizarrely, instead of creating wholly new songs, he re-recorded a slew of earlier Roxy classics. Fanciful fun or exorcising of past demons? It's worth noting that most of the songs come from the Eno period of the band, and consequently the new versions stear clear of the sheer chaos he brought to the original Roxy lineup. As it is, the end results are still interesting treats -- "Casanova" exchanges the blasting stomp of the original for a slow, snaky delivery that suggests threat without sounding too worried about it. "Re-Make/Re-Model," meanwhile, turns downright funky without losing any of its weird lyrical edge. Others have subtler differences, as when the stark, stiff midsection of "Sea Breezes" becomes a looser, slow jam. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Virgin Catalogue

Most Bryan Ferry compilations divide their time between his solo recordings and Roxy Music hits, so 2009’s The Best of Bryan Ferry is noteworthy in how it focuses entirely on his solo work, running from the ‘70s and into the new millennium. At 21 tracks, the collection is generous, so it’s not a surprise that it contains all the hits and staples, from “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and “Let’s Stick Together” to “Slave to Love” and “Kiss and Tell,” with the deluxe edition going one step further and collecting 28 music videos, including many singles that don’t show up on the CD. This DVD is an enticement for the diehards who already own everything on the CD, but seen as just an aural collection, this is the best overview of Ferry’s solo recordings yet assembled. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

Sufficiently recharged via Taxi, Ferry got down to business and the following year released Mamouna, notable among other things for being his first recordings with the help of Brian Eno since the latter split from Roxy Music back in 1973. Rather than playing the wild card as he so often did, though, Eno concentrates on (to use his own descriptions in the credits) "swoop treatment" and "sonic awareness." Slightly more to the fore are Ferry's usual range of excellent musicians and pros. Steve Ferrone once again handles drums as he did on Taxi, while Richard Norris also reappears on loops and programming; other familiar faces include Nile Rodgers, Robin Trower (the album's co-producer), and Carleen Anderson. One of the most intriguing guest appearances comes at the very start -- "Don't Want to Know" has no less than five guitarists, including none other than Roxy's own Phil Manzanera. Whereas his '80s work seemed to fit the times just so, with his own general spin on things providing true individuality as a result, on Mamouna Ferry seems slightly stuck in place. Compared to the variety of Bete Noire, Mamouna almost seems a revamp of Boys and Girls. Combine that with some of Ferry's least compelling songs in a while, and Mamouna is something of a middling affair, almost too tasteful for its own good (and considering who this is, that's saying something). There are some songs of note -- "The 39 Steps" has a slightly menacing vibe to it, appropriate given the cinematic reference of the title, while the Ferry/Eno collaboration "Wildcat Days" displays some of Eno's old synth-melting flash. Overall, though, Mamouna is pleasant without being involving. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | EG Records

When Jerry Hall, front-cover model on Roxy's Siren, left Ferry for Mick Jagger, his response was this interesting album, not a full success but by no means a washout. In part Ferry returned to the model of his solo work before In Your Mind, with half the tracks being covers of rock and soul classics. Thus, Sam and Dave's "Hold On (I'm Coming)," Al Green's "Take Me to the River" (which arguably sounds like a strong influence on Talking Heads' near contemporaneous version) and even the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On," among others, take a bow. Unfortunately Ferry's backing performers, mostly drawing on studio pros like Waddy Wachtel, don't seem to have the real affinity for the material like his earlier solo-effort cohorts did. If anything, though, there's also the sense of Ferry channeling his romantic gloom through a number of the songs, giving them a strong personal bite. The guitar and bass-only version of the traditional folk tune "Carrickfergus" works best of all, its lovelorn sentiments and slow pace connecting just right. As for Ferry's originals, his sentiments are all the more clear, right from the abbreviated charge of the opening "Sign of the Times," its fractured sentiments of disturbed, vicious romance matched by the clipped punch of the music and Ferry's own brisk delivery. The other originals don't cut quite so bloodily, but the sense of loss and confusion is all there, from the opening line "Well I rush out blazin'/My pulse is racin'" on "Can't Let Go" to the lonely sense of mystery on "This Island Earth," the album's conclusion. © Ned Raggett /TiVo

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Bryan Ferry in the magazine
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