Without major-label constraints timing releases and putting music through the spin cycle, many artists are unleashing multiple albums within months of each other. Boston's Charlie Farren is prolific in this regard, as is Andy Pratt. With two excellent new releases in 2003, the Cover Me interpretations with guitarist Mark Doyle as well as the intensely personal I'm Alright (the latter perhaps the closest Pratt has gotten to his classic early-'70s self-titled Columbia disc), it would have been unheard of for a musician of Pratt's stature to continue making even more music available -- especially with the re-release of his entire catalog on the Itsaboutmusic.com label. But Andy Pratt Solo is an incredible bridge tying the past to the present. It is the composer alone with guitar and piano and song -- no different than if he was on a live radio broadcast from the '70s promoting a current LP. With the new frontier of the Internet, this can be viewed as an important part of a trilogy or as a promotional tool. And while both those concepts work, Andy Pratt Solo actually stands on its own as an essential component of his musical legacy. Hearing material from the Andy Pratt album -- "Who Will Be My Friend," "I'll Give It All to Music," "Call Up That Old Friend" -- especially for those who realize what an intriguing and valuable work that one-of-a-kind album is -- brings enlightenment to people who care to explore this intense and thought-provoking individual. You can't classify Pratt -- the complexities of that CBS disc are way ahead of their time and still not fully understood. By stripping away the thick layers -- and with the perspective that comes with the 30 years which separate the two works -- the material is reaffirmed as well as regenerated. Recorded at Indre Studios, Philadelphia, by engineer Pete Girgenti, the innocence cuts through, as does the eternal quest in Pratt's voice. Produced by manager Dean Sciarra and Pratt, the CD is something of a snapshot of the singer's impressions at the moment in time this performance was captured.
The Andy Pratt album emerged simultaneously with Lou Reed's brilliant Berlin in the early '70s. Both LPs covered the darker side of human emotions, though Andy Pratt delivered some antidotes like "Summer, Summer." On Andy Pratt Solo, the titles "Who Am I Talking To" and "So Fine" come back to life and find themselves alongside a great rendition of the title track of his 2003 I'm Alright declaration. As stated at the top of this review, I'm Alright is the bookend to the disc that contained "Avenging Annie," and as such, brings everything full circle, the new work combined with the old inside the voice and instrumentation of the creator of both. Andy Pratt's individuality comes across in this disc, a man in a class by himself. With all the static impeding musical progress in the new millennium, these unique compositions make for great listening and inspire introspection. It's a one-on-one concert for your living room, a lengthy letter from the artist to those who find his musical episodes captivating.