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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Hall, Daryl - 1980 Sacred Songs
Hall, Daryl - 1980 Sacred Songs

ARTIST: Hall, Daryl
ALBUM: Sacred Songs
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: Buddah 74465 99604 2


LINEUP: Daryl Hall - lead vocals, keyboards, synthesizer, mandar * Robert Fripp - guitars, frippertronics * Roger Pope - drums * Kenny Passarelli - bass * Caleb Quaye - guitar * Charlie De Chant - saxophone, background vocals * David Kent - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Sacred Songs * 02 Something In 4/4 Time * 03 Babs And Babs * 04 Urban Landscape * 05 NYCNY * 06 The Farther Away I Am * 07 Why Was It So Easy * 08 Don't Leave Me Alone With Her * 09 Survive * 10 Without Tears

While it's open to debate, Hall & Oates were at their creative peak in the late '70s with a trio of albums that still sound fresh and original 30 thirty plus years later. Of course, I'm talking about 'Beauty On A Back Street', 'Along The Red Ledge' and 'X-Static' and while none of these albums were particularly successful, they showed the band were more than capable of reaching beyond their Philly soul roots into rock and pop styles that would become a commercial goldmine in the 1980's. Evidently, Daryl Hall was looking for ways to expand on the blue-eyed soul blueprint as early as 1974 when he met up with King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and developing a relationship that would lead to this- Hall's first solo album originally recorded in 1977 with Fripp behind the production desk as well as contributing guitar. The album also marks the first recorded use of 'Frippertronics' a tape loop system invented by Fripp which created unique and at times moody synthesizer sounds although unfortunately, after hearing 'Sacred Songs' Hall's label RCA in a move that still boggles the mind - shelved the album for fear it might alienate Hall & Oates fans due to the records experimental nature.

The Songs
Yes, this is not what anyone had come to expect from Hall yet it was still very much pop music, just not as slick as 'Sara Smile' or 'Rich Girl'. Often I'm reminded of David Bowie's late 70's Brian Eno produced Berlin albums. Both the title track 'Something in 4/4 Time' and in particular 'Babs And Babs' are unmistakably Daryl Hall, but Fripp's guitar work and textural use of Frippertronics takes the listener well out of the Hall & Oates frame of reference into the high brow world of art pop. Fripp contributes his song writing talents to a couple cuts; the atmospheric and desolate instrumental 'Urban Landscape' and the surprisingly punkish but oh-so 1977 'NYCNY'. The brief but beautiful 'The Farther Away I Am' plays counterpoint to 'Why Was It So Easy' which is more typical of Hall's soul style and the more Hall & Oates tune of the set. On paper the pairing of Hall and Fripp for an albums worth of material might seem odd and possibly a test in endurance, but 'Without Tears' the album's final cut is a good example as any of two artists from different backgrounds working as a team to create a minimalist pop masterpiece featuring Hall distinctive vocalizations with nothing but piano and spatial electronics.

In Summary
After much campaigning from both Hall and Fripp, RCA finally saw the error of their ways and released 'Sacred Songs' in 1980. No singles were pulled from the album but it was a moderate success and there was even some discussion of the duo taking to the road in support of the album, but that idea never materialized with Fripp reforming King Crimson and Hall returning to the fold with John Oates. It wouldn't be until 1986 and 'Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine' that Hall would strike out on his own again with a good effort that included the swirling single top ten hit 'Dreamtime' although the album was far removed from the cutting edge experimentation revealed on 'Sacred Songs'.

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