October 1998

Dave's True Story - Sex Without Bodies
Chesky Records JD164
Released: 1998

by Jay Piriz

Musical Performance ****1/2
Recording Quality *****
Overall Enjoyment *****

[Reviewed on CD]It is not often that I rate a new disc as highly as Sex Without Bodies. This recording provides the listener with a view into the sophistication, intellectualism, recklessness and rebellious condition that defined the decade of the 1960s. Dave's True Story is the product of a melange between vocalist Kelly Flint and guitarist (and sometimes vocalist) David Cantor. On this, their second release, these two fine musicians and lyricists are doing what many attempt but few achieve. This is a magical, wonderful, musically engaging tour of 1960s lounges, coffee houses and beatnik hangouts. Flint's voice is sweet and seductive throughout this very fine recording. Her harmonious sultriness seems to be especially fit for this type of music.

Lest I begin by erroneously giving you the impression that there are only two performers here, I would be sorely remiss if I did not mention at this point that this recording boasts a very competent and lengthy list of back-up musicians, including the great European horn man, Chris Botti. There are vibes, saxes, acoustic basses, drums, percussion and even an electric Wurlitzer piano. All of the performers are exceptionally talented, with each one taking the spotlight from time to time. Never overdone, the musical solos are smooth, engaging and full of the juxtaposed dimness and brightness of a gaslight cabaret.

This entire musical performance was recorded live at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Chelsea, New York, and is the product of Richard Julian and David Chesky. There were no overdubs used on any of the songs, and the quality of the recording is, without reservation, true audiophile. There is a realness to the music and a perceptual ambiance in the reproduction of the recording venue's interaction with the musicians and their instruments that is quite extraordinary. The location of the performers on the soundstage is precise without being sterile. As I thought about how to best convey to you the strong emotional feeling that this recording imparts, it occurred to me that its strongest quality is the high degree of timbral accuracy heard in, and most importantly between, voices and instruments. The sound is, as my daughter would say, "most real!"

In addition to some terrific music, there are some great lyrics. On "Daddy-O," jointly written by Flint and Cantor, the lyrics are especially entertaining: "The word from Saigon/Mao will change his tune/Let bys be bygone/We'll be gone by June." "Spasm" is lyrically hottish: "So let's get this straight/I'm not in for the long haul/So spare me the roses the wine and the song/It all boils down to the raw protoplasm/'Cause this ain't the real thing/It's just a spasm." A cover of Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side" is included. I'm not going to write about it; you'll just have to hear it for yourself. Imagine a sultry, female jazz singer belting out those lyrics. I assure you, Flint never loses her head, even when she's -- oh my!

I listen to a great deal of music -- some good, much mediocre, some bad. When I came across Sex Without Bodies, I felt as though I had found some wonderful, rare artifact that should be put on display somewhere because of its simple beauty and profound complexity. Aside from being a reference-grade technical recording, Sex Without Bodies is a creative, solid musical performance that’s a real joy. This is great music. And yes, with this Chesky recording, you CAN hear the difference.