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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Ritenour, Lee - 1981 Rit
Ritenour, Lee - 1981 Rit

ARTIST: Ritenour, Lee
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 6E-331
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1994, Discovery (WB), 1046-71013-2 * 2004, Collectables, COL-CD-6549


LINEUP: Lee Ritenour - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, guitar synthesizer, vocoder * Eric Tagg, Bill Champlin - vocals * David Foster , Don Grusin, Greg Mathieson, Greg Phillinganes, Richard Tee - keyboards * Michael Boddicker - synthesizer * David Hungate, Abraham Laboriel, John Pierce - bass * Jeff Porcaro, Alex Acuna - drums * Harvey Mason - electronic drums, percussion * Paulinho Da Costa, Steve Forman - percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mr Briefcase * 02 (Just) Tell Me Pretty Lies * 03 No Sympathy * 04 Is it You * 05 Dreamwalk * 06 Countdown (Captain Fingers) * 07 Good Question * 08 (You Caught Me) Smilin' * 09 On The Slow Guide * 10 No Sympathy (Reprise)


I've had this album in my collection since day one. Admittedly, I wasn't that familiar with Lee Ritenour's work up until this point in his career. Prior to this, Lee had released a couple of jazz oriented albums in the seventies, since first coming onto the scene around about 1976. An in demand session guitarist, Ritenour, a guitar prodigy who cites other jazz greats such as Wes Montgomery as major influences, gradually increased his net worth with numerous appearances on other artists albums, plus his own albums such as 'Captain Fingers' and 'Captains Journey'. However, with this release 'Rit', Lee crossed over into mainstream/commercial territory, obviously buoyed by the success of guys such as George Benson, Chuck Mangiaone and A&M Records head honcho Herb Alpert. Hooking up with ex Medusa lead singer Eric Tagg proved to be a masterstroke, as these co-written songs are catchy, commercial, fun, and most importantly melodic. The jazz meets West Coast approach proved a winner.

The Songs
An instant classic is what I would call opener 'Mr Briefcase'. The bouncy arrangement is still a favourite of mine years later. Wonderful stuff! Tagg gets to strut his stuff on '(Just) Tell Me Pretty Lies', yet another punchy effort with popping bass lines and an array of percussion. Slowing up for 'No Sympathy', the smooth emotion filled vocals of Tagg combine with Ritenour's lucid guitar lines beautifully. The best known track onboard this album is the Top 30 hit single 'Is It You', an oft-played track on AC Radio to this day. Side One finishes with the instrumental 'Dreamwalk', atmospheric and (as the title suggests) dream like. 'Countdown' gets us underway for Side Two. it's a big sounding dance-oriented funky piece that is infectious, the vocoder effects coming into its own. 'Good Question' is another instrumental. It's quite hard-hitting; if it had vocals the song would've been sensational. As it is, it's still great. 'You Caught Me Smilin' is representative of Ritenour's earlier jazz-flavoured work, while 'On The Slow Guide' reworks some Santana like moments. The album ends with an instrumental reprise of the previously heard ballad 'No Sympathy', a nice wind-down for the album.

In Summary
Ritenour continued with the jazz/west coast/rock crossover approach for at least another two albums: 1982's 'Rit II' and 1983's 'Banded Together'. Beyond that, Lee has settled into a comfortable jazz fusion career, both as a solo artist and for a short time, as a member of jazz superstar ensemble Fourplay alongside Bob James, Nathan East and Harvey Mason. A terrific musician, and long time favourite of this listener at least..

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#1 | JuniorNB on September 03 2008 17:23:11
Very good stuff. It's basically two seperate albums. The first half is great mellow melodic rock, while the last half is basically instruments, jazzier tunes. For me, tracks 1-4 are money.
#2 | Danielovich on December 18 2009 16:23:11
Hi gdazegod! I've been checking out the album and I found that 'Dreamwalkin' is not an instrumental, but a fantastic (and sung!) mid-tempo track. Easily one of the highlights of this fantastic record.
#3 | gdazegod on December 18 2009 23:20:29
Dreamwalk is an instrumental, Dreamwalkin' (which is on Rit II) is a vocal track. they are two different tracks altogether.
#4 | Danielovich on December 19 2009 09:02:23
You are right.I think my two albums (in mp3) are messed up! Thanks for the data.
#5 | gdazegod on January 11 2016 22:14:38
Lee Ritenour - 1981 Mr Briefcase
YouTube Video:
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