Jim Capaldi

Living on the Outside

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Pyramid Records' 2003 U.S. release of Jim Capaldi's Living on the Outside differs from the SPV version released in 2001 in that the tracks have been re-sequenced, and the second, longer version of "Anna Julia" is not included. But it is essentially the same record, an album of cleanly produced pop/rock that recalls Capaldi's 1970s heyday, and it doesn't look all the way back to the 1960s. Certainly, "Anna Julia," which features George Harrison on guitar, Ian Paice on drums, and Paul Weller on backing vocals, sounds like it could have come from the '60s. The title track, on the other hand, sounds like a castoff from the first Dire Straits album, with its finger-picked acoustic guitar and a throaty vocal from Capaldi. The album cover makes prominent mention of such guests as Harrison, Paice, Weller, Gary Moore (who plays lead guitar on "Heart of Stone"), and Steve Winwood (who plays synthesizer on "Riding the Storm"), but that's largely a marketing gimmick. The guests never make a strong or identifiable enough impression to impinge on Capaldi, who has delivered a good album that could have been released any time in the previous 30-plus years, which will be welcome news to the fans who have stuck with him through that period, or lost track and wonder where he's been. In a sleeve note, he takes a swipe at the rappers who were ruling the record business when this album was released, and while that may be interpreted as sour grapes from a musician whose chosen style of music just isn't at the top anymore, Capaldi can be proud of his accomplishment here, no matter how many -- or how few -- listeners get to hear it. [Pyramid released the CD in 2002.]

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