Posted by Jodes
on 02/08/2003 at 07:23 PM
Kasim Sulton has pretty much done it all in his 25+ years in the music business. He’s been a highly coveted sideman for artists such as Meatloaf, Joan Jett, Hall & Oates, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Patty Smyth, Mick Jagger, Glen Burtnik, and Celine Dion just to name a few. Not only is he a talented bassist, keyboardist, and singer, but is an accomplished producer as well. As a music columnist once joked: “Without Kasim, it’s just possible that the 70’s would have been bassless”.
With his latest release “Quid Pro Quo” brings Kasim out into the spotlight with this impressive sophomore effort from Sphere Sound Records.
Not only is it well produced; the songs themselves are a remarkable and infectious combination of rock, pop and adult contemporary. The songwriting is by far one of the strong points of this CD. They are well crafted, uplifting, spiritual, and definitely written from the heart. The other impressive fact is that Kasim himself plays almost all the instruments on each of the tracks.
The CD kicks off with “Sacrifice”, a catchy, ear-pleasing song with a great opening riff and “sing-along” chorus. The lyrics are very thoughtful and definitely insightful, something that is definitely missing in today’s “version” of pop music. Up next is “Before She Was Gone” a mid-tempo track that plays out well with a bare bones arrangement. It’s definitely a track that will keep its integrity and message whether it’s played with a full band or acoustically.
“The One Sure Thing” is another catchy, melodic slice of pop rock with a hint of Beatles thrown in for good measure. If this song had been released in the mid 80’s, it would have been a sure fire hit. Although this is 2003, it is still a very radio friendly song, and I could definitely hear it on Adult Contemporary or Easy Listening stations.
“We The People” which Kasim co-wrote with two members of 80’s band “Boy Meets Girl”, (Although being a child of the 80’s, I can’t seem to remember anything they did) starts with a Bruce Hornsby sounding piano intro, then shades of Sir Paul McCartney can be heard in the first verse before it kicks into a very Asia flavored chorus. Its patriotic message resonates throughout and its combination of musical styles definitely makes it one of the stronger songs on the CD. It’s one that would definitely get the crowd going if played live.
“Where Is My Soul” is a cover of the Finn brothers (Crowded House, Split Enz). Although I’ve not heard the original, Kasim’s cover definitely sounds like Crowded House and he pulls it off more or less. The chorus does unfortunately get tiresome and the song doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the CD, especially after the previous song.
But a good attempt nonetheless.
Thankfully the CD picks up again with “Heaven Help The Child”. It is hands down my favorite track on this CD. Co-written by singer-songwriter and current Styx member Glen Burtnik, “Heaven” is a gentle, heartfelt ballad, with powerful, tear-jerking lyrics. The highlight is definitely the combination of piano, flute and string sections all beautifully arranged.
Another standout song is the “Doo-Wop” flavored “Over For Now”. Kasim really gives it his all while singing this one. The harmonies are outstanding and the musicianship is top notch. This is the most infectious song on the CD, and one of my new favorites. If you are a Huey Lewis, Billy Joel or Jackson Browne fan, you’d instantly fall in love with this song.
“Don’t Hold Me Back” gives the listener a small sample of how he sounds live. If this song is any indication, he’s one that definitely should not be missed. This song is as stripped down as one can get, it’s just Kasim and his guitar. Even unplugged he dishes up another serving of well crafted and well written pop rock.
“Remember” is another cover, this with Kasim covering Harry Nilsson (Without You). Again, not one of the best tracks on the CD, but better than the original. It’s only my opinion, but Kasim should stick with own material, but I give him credit for covering artists that aren’t really in the mainstream.
“Goodbye” is another mid tempo track that flows rather nicely, with the drums and guitar work reminiscent of Tom Petty and Don Henley. Also, the addition of the sitar adds a rather unexpected but yet pleasant surprise to the song.
Speaking of surprises, one can be found at 5:25 of Track 10, the “bonus” song, “Love Reunion”. Another catchy, uplifting, toe tapping, sing along, Beatles influenced little number. It is a great way to end off the album.
“Quid Pro Quo” is definitely a CD that will grow on you very quickly. If you are a fan of Todd Rundgren, Meatloaf, Paul McCartney, or Dennis Deyoung’s solo material, this is definitely one for your collection. You’ll love this CD. Although the cover songs are the weakest ones on this album, “Quid Pro Quo’s” nine other songs are simply well written, nicely polished, melodic pop at it’s finest. The producers of American Idol and all of those bubble-gum, flavor of the month acts should purchase this CD to be shown what a true artist can produce from his heart.
Kasim is currently on tour with "Meatloaf and Friends" and is also doing select solo dates this winter. Check him out if you can.
8 out of 10
For More Information on Kasim Sulton, please visit his official website: Kasim Sulton
Quid Pro Quo can be purchased here: Sphere Sound Records
A portion of Kasim's sales of Quid Pro Quo will be donated to Kids Against Cancer. For more information or to make a donation to this great cause, please visit: Kidsagainstcancer.