Live In Dublin (CD + DVD) By Hall & Oates

September 3, 2015


Fresh from their induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Daryl Hall and John Oates performed in Ireland for the first time in their 40 plus year career. Accompanied by their touring band, they performed a 97 minute set at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin on July 15, 2014. That concert has been released as a two-CD and DVD Box Set.

The concert is basically the duo revisiting many of their hits from the 1970’s and 1980’s. The CD’s and DVD contain the same track list. Some of the hits are changed a bit, especially in the vocals and allowing the different band members to solo. Daryl Hall’s voice has become more soulful as he has aged, which gives many of the songs a different patina. John Oates is the lead vocalist on “Back Together Again” and “Las Vegas Turnaround,” but otherwise provides the tight harmonies that the duo is known for.

For better or worse, their place in rock and roll history is that of a pop/rock band who dominated singles radio in the 1970’s and 1980’s with a series of catchy hits. Songs such as “Maneater,” “Rich Girl,” “I Can’t Go For That (No One Do),” “You Make My Dreams,” “Kiss On My List,” “Private Eyes,” and more may not have been appreciated by hard rock fans but sold millions of records and are considered pop classics today.

The Olympia Theatre is an intimate 1600 seater, so the sound and energy bounces off the walls, which is very apparent on the DVD. Saxophonist Charlie DeChant shines with solos on “She’s Gone” and “I Can’t Go For That,” while guitarist Shane Theriot propels the music along.

Daryl Hall and John Oates have carved out a pop niche for themselves during the past four decades. Live In Dublin updates their career and brings it into the present, proving that they and their music still matter.


Dreamtime 45 by Daryl Hall

January 3, 2013


Daryl Hall will alwys be associated with one of the most commercially successful pop duos in music history, Hall & Oates. There was a time, however, when he released some music that was very different from the smooth pop/rock that they were known for.

During 1977, under the direction of Robert Fripp, he created a solo album that was very experiemental rock music. SACRED SONGS was so different that the RCA label did not release it for three years.

His second solo album, THREE HEARTS IN THE HAPPY ENDING MACHINE, was a little more pop oriented. The lead single, “Dreamtime,” became a huge hit. Released during the summer of 1986, it reached number five on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It was the most successful solo single of his career.

She’s Gone 45 by Hall & Oates

February 14, 2012

“She’s Gone” by Daryl Hall and John Oates was released during early 1974 and reached number 60 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It remained on the chart for a total of eight weeks but never could attain hit status.

Two years later found Hall & Oates signed to the RCA label. Their second single to reach the charts, “Sara Smile” became a big hit reaching number four. The Atlantic label decided to cash in on the duo’s new popularity and rereleased “She’s Gone.” It reached the Singles Chart for the second time during the summer of 1976 and climbed to number seven, becoming a big hit on its own.

It was a wonderful soulful performance that was somewhat difference from many of their straight pop hits. It is one of their songs that has aged well.

Laughing Down Crying by Daryl Hall

November 17, 2011

I am always amazed and somewhat intrigued by how different Daryl Hall’s solo music sounds compared to his work with John Oates. Is the true Daryl Hall the consummate pop artist who is half of one of music’s most commercially successful duos of all time, or is he the edgy rocker of his early solo days? His new album, Laughing Down Crying, places him somewhere in the middle.

Now in his mid-60s, Hall has traveled a long and largely successful musical journey, from scoring close to three-dozen hit singles with Oates – including six that reached Number One – to developing his own popular webcast, Live From Daryl’s House.

Laughing Down Crying, Hall’s first solo effort since 2004’s Live In Philadelphia, reflects the many styles that have influenced and been a part of his career, as elements of rock, pop, soul, and even a little gospel combine to form a somewhat eclectic but ultimately satisfying album.

The title track gets it off to a good start as an acoustic approach and tight harmonies create a folk/rock vibe. “Talking To You (Is Like Talking To Myself)” is more uptempo and hook-laden in contrast, while “Message To You” sounds like it could have been plucked right out of the Hall & Oates catalogue.
There are also some twists and turns along the way. With some deep bass lines laying its foundation, “Eyes For You (Ain’t No Doubt About It)” allows Hall to explore a funk sound. “Get Out Of The Way” assumes more of a modernized approach as programmed drums and layers of guitars combine with impeccable production.

“Save Me” contains one of Hall’s better vocals on the album, as the track is almost a straight gospel tune backed by a chorus. And yet despite the various production and musical directions throughout, the album’s best track is the simple acoustic-pop ballad, “Crash & Burn.”

Laughing Down Crying is a fine effort from the fertile mind of Daryl Hall. His voice is still a formidable instrument, one which allows him to roam over the musical landscape. Consider this one a worthwhile addition to any music collection.

Article first published as Music Review: Daryl Hall – Laughing Down Crying on Blogcritics.

Do What You Want Be What You Are by Daryl Hall and John Oates

November 19, 2009

Hall & Oates may not have earned the critical acclaim that was their due, but beginning in the mid-seventies and continuing throughout the eighties. You literally could not listen to the radio very long without one of their songs blasting out from the speakers.

They have released dozens of albums during the course of their career which has stretched nearly four decades and have sold tens of millions of albums, yet they are best known for a series of catchy pop singles that remain some of the best in music history. “Rich Girl,” “Kiss On My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go For That,” “Maneater,” and “Out Of Touch” all reached number one on the Billboard Magazine singles chart and that just scratches the surface as 28 more would also become hits.

Do What You Want Be What You Are is a four CD, 74 track box-set that spans their career from their pre-duo college days in the late sixties, down to the present day. There are 74 different tracks taken from their recordings for seven different labels. Rarities, hits, and 16 unreleased tracks all combine to make this the definitive Hall & Oates release.

Disc one is the most historically interesting. Daryl Hall was a member of the rhythm & blues influenced The Temptones and John Oates fronted the pop sounding The Masters. Tracks from both of these sixties groups show how the early proclivities of each would combine into their later fully developed sound.

There are also five unreleased live performances taken from their 1975 concert at The New Victoria Theatre in London. Their sound was in the developmental stage but was beginning to transition toward the smooth brand of R&B/Pop that would dominate their best work.

Discs two and three present the heart and soul of their extensive catalogue as hit follows hit. All their number one songs are present as are “You Make My Dreams,” “Say It Isn’t So,” “Adult Education,” “One On One,” “Rich Girl,” “Sara Smile,” and on and on and on seemingly ad infinitum. When all of their best material is clustered together it represents an impressive accomplishment.

Disc four contains a selection of their most recent material and is the weakest. Daryl Hall had a number of side projects during this period plus the music was just not of the same quality. The live material especially does not have the smoothness of their classic eighties releases.

One of the highlights of the set is the accompanying sixty page booklet complete with rare photos and comments about every track by either Daryl Hall or John Oates.

Do What You Want Be What You Are is seventies and eighties pop music at its best. All box sets ultimately stand on the music and Hall & Oates have a very large and firm foundation.

Live At The Troubadour by Hall & Oates

May 24, 2009

Just about the time I was emerging from the hard rock and psychedelic music haze of my post college years in the mid 1970s, Daryl Hall and John Oates were becoming a constant presence on the radio airwaves. Their music was slick, polished, and catchy which enabled their albums and singles to sell in the tens of millions. While their popularity would wane as the 1980s drew to a close, their legacy would rank them as one of the most successful duos in music history.

Hall & Oates were a guilty pleasure. I would seclude their albums where they couldn’t be seen but would privately appreciate their pop sensibilities. They were a signal that I was aging and my musical tastes were adapting. The Beach Boys, Beatles, and Roy Orbison sounds of my youth and the hard rock leanings of my college years would not be left behind, but my music tastes would expand to include a pop sound.

While Hall and Oates would produce eighteen studio albums and numerous compilations and live releases, it would be their brilliantly crafted singles that would form the basis of their popularity. They would place 34 singles on the Billboard charts including sixteen that would reach the top ten. “Rich Girl,” “Kiss On My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” “Maneater,” and “Out Of Touch” would all reach number one.

Daryl Hall and John Oates have reunited from time to time over the years. Last May the duo brought their act to the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Live At The Troubadour is a three disc CD recording of their performances. The first two discs contain nineteen songs from their concerts. The third disc is a DVD which presents the same tracks live.

This set is a worthy addition to their catalogue and legacy. They present many of their best known songs but being live they are not as polished as the studio recordings. This is positive as Hall & Oates change some of the music around and even jam on many of the tracks. The use of a saxophone sound is very creative. The music emerges a little grittier and seems more genuine. All in all it finds Hall & Oates presenting their music with an edge which has been rare in their career, live or otherwise.

Daryl Hall and John Oates mostly accompany themselves on acoustic guitar but behind them is a full band which all coalesces into an effective and interesting sound. The hits just flow smoothly along. Such memorable songs as “Say It Isn’t So,” “She’s Gone,” “One On One,” “Sara Smile,” “Maneater,” “Rich Girl,” “Kiss On My List,” “You Make My Dreams,” and “Private Eyes” all find the duo in their comfort zone. They do dig a little deeper into their repertoire with such tracks as “It’s Uncanny,” “When The Morning Comes,” “Cab Driver,” and “Abandoned Luncheonette.”

Daryl Hall and John Oates are not young anymore and have played most of these songs thousands of times. They are wise enough to do things a little different and make them interesting. As such they have put together a live recording that provides pleasure without any guilt.