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Lee Oskar|Before the Rain

Before the Rain

Lee Oskar

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Here's why all serious music lovers still need a turntable: there are so many worthwhile LPs from the '60s and '70s that will probably never be reissued on CD. Before Avenue Records came into the picture, it seemed unlikely that Lee Oskar's solo albums of 1976-1980 would ever be reissued on CD -- labels usually reissue titles they think there is a heavy demand for, and Oskar's solo efforts weren't the mega-blockbusters that War's albums were. But Avenue pleasantly surprised listeners in the '90s by making Oskar's solo output available on CD, including 1978's Before the Rain. Did this album outsell War classics like Why Can't We Be Friends? and All Day Music? Hardly. Reissued in 1995, this mostly instrumental album deserved to come back into print simply because it is good. From a commercial standpoint, the problem with Before the Rain is that it's difficult to categorize -- is it funk, pop-jazz, quiet storm, or fusion? Arguably, Before the Rain is all of those things, and Oskar's harmonica playing is expressive whether he is getting mildly funky on "Steppin'" or being mellow and laid-back on "More Than Words Can Say" and the title track. "Steppin'" certainly isn't typical of funk instrumentals; the tune opens with bagpipes -- not exactly an instrument that one ordinarily associates with funk. But then, Oskar is no stranger to multiculturalism; how many harmonica players who were born in Copenhagen, Denmark, went on to play with one of the top soul/funk bands of the '70s? Before the Rain may not have set the world on fire when it was first released in 1978, but it was certainly nice to see the album making its CD debut in 1995.

© Alex Henderson /TiVo

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Before the Rain

Lee Oskar

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1
Before the Rain
00:08:15

Lee Oskar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Gene Page, Arranger - K. Oskar, Writer

© 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company

2
Steppin'
00:05:55

Lee Oskar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Greg Adams, Horns Arranger - G Errico, Writer

© 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company

3
San Francisco Bay
00:07:25

Lee Oskar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Paul Buckmaster, Brass Arranger, String Arranger, Choir Arranger - K. Oskar, Writer - G Errico, Writer

© 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company

4
Feelin' Happy
00:03:47

Lee Oskar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Greg Adams, Horns Arranger - Greg Errico, Writer - B. Vega, Writer - H. Eberitzsch, Writer - T. Fullerton, Writer

© 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company

5
More Than Words Can Say
00:04:47

Lee Oskar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Gene Page, String Arranger - Leonard Pickett, Contributor - K. Oskar, Writer

© 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company

6
Sing Song
00:06:55

Lee Oskar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Gene Page, String Arranger - K. Oskar, Writer

© 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company

7
Haunted House
00:06:51

Lee Oskar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - K. Oskar, Writer

© 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 1978 Far Out Productions, Inc under exclusive license to Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company

Album review

Here's why all serious music lovers still need a turntable: there are so many worthwhile LPs from the '60s and '70s that will probably never be reissued on CD. Before Avenue Records came into the picture, it seemed unlikely that Lee Oskar's solo albums of 1976-1980 would ever be reissued on CD -- labels usually reissue titles they think there is a heavy demand for, and Oskar's solo efforts weren't the mega-blockbusters that War's albums were. But Avenue pleasantly surprised listeners in the '90s by making Oskar's solo output available on CD, including 1978's Before the Rain. Did this album outsell War classics like Why Can't We Be Friends? and All Day Music? Hardly. Reissued in 1995, this mostly instrumental album deserved to come back into print simply because it is good. From a commercial standpoint, the problem with Before the Rain is that it's difficult to categorize -- is it funk, pop-jazz, quiet storm, or fusion? Arguably, Before the Rain is all of those things, and Oskar's harmonica playing is expressive whether he is getting mildly funky on "Steppin'" or being mellow and laid-back on "More Than Words Can Say" and the title track. "Steppin'" certainly isn't typical of funk instrumentals; the tune opens with bagpipes -- not exactly an instrument that one ordinarily associates with funk. But then, Oskar is no stranger to multiculturalism; how many harmonica players who were born in Copenhagen, Denmark, went on to play with one of the top soul/funk bands of the '70s? Before the Rain may not have set the world on fire when it was first released in 1978, but it was certainly nice to see the album making its CD debut in 1995.

© Alex Henderson /TiVo

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