“Long Road” by Tyrone Mr. SuperFantastic
Taking a step forward and adding on to the legacy of great vocalists is not an easy thing to do in the music business today. That is what Tyrone Mr. SuperFantastic has taken on as his musical task. The songs on this record are the cream of the crop and one must know what they are doing to deliver them. The loose confidence and joy are apparent in the record from the first song on the “Long Road” (Can Do) album. Tyrone uses some real meat and potato type arrangers and musical supervisors that have a connection to the era of the jazz big band and R&B show tunes.
The journey begins with the Sammy Davis Jr. classic “Hey There”. Tyrone eschews the more plaintive Rosemary Clooney feel and goes with the finger popping Las Vegas vibe. He is a singer whose performance is imbued with a genteel confidence that comes across as fun and enthusiastic. This glitzy Vegas wave continues through the first two or three songs. It is only when Tyrone makes a left turn and spins out his version of “Mr. Bojangles” that we come to the slow realization something deeper is going on here. It was written by Texas troubadour Jerry Jeff Walker in the late 1960s or early 1970. Jerry tells about an encounter he had with a homeless white street performer in a New Orleans jail cell. It retains an earthy heaviness through the lyrics and the melody alone that makes it connect to the well of human sadness and redemption. There was a sweep by police following a high profile murder and while Jerry and the performer where chatting he ended up telling Jerry about the dog mentioned in the song. There is no coming back for the listener after hearing this part of the verse.
He spoke with tears of fifteen years how his dog and him
The dog up and died
He up and died, after twenty years he still grieves
We all have people or animals we still grieve for after twenty years. It is universal and it must have affected a young Tyrone and his musical universe. Jerry Jeff said someone in the cell said, “Hey lighten up the mood” and the street performer felt obliged to do his dance routine. There is so much about America and the attitudes of the people and the heart they have in that song. Tyrone manages to capture the lyric and intent as well as any performer has. It gives the record a lot of depth and variation.
This continues through the rest of the songs presented. A lovely version of “On the Street Where You Live” shows off the tightness between the musical arrangement and the vocalist. This is apparent from the boppa dabba doo dum intro that is cemented to the drums and leads into the jazz guitar chords and horns that round out the production so nicely. The last song that is a highlight for me is the seventies classic, “This Guy’s In Love”, originally written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the artist and instrumentalist Herb Alpert. The great thing about this song and melody is that it is simple and was in the vocal range of a trumpeter. So when a guy with a great voice, like Mr. SuperFantastic gets a hold of it the nuances of the melody and chords comes shining through. Overall a great first effort from an artist to watch.