Fankhauser, Merrell - Return To MU

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Sundazed
Catalog Number: 11088
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:11:00

The first thing I would like to clarify about Merrell Fankhauser's new release Return to MU is that it is NOT a MU album, these are all new recordings from Fankhauser. The Sundazed label made a crucial error by putting "MU featuring Merrell Fankhauser" on the spine of the CD, thereby discrediting Fankhauser's efforts as a solo artist. If someone had been paying proper attention at the label, it would have read "Merrell Fankhauser Featuring Special Guests" (You will recognize many names in the credits of each song). Since this was several years in the making and it took the label several more years to release it, you would think that getting the title right would have been the easy part! Regardless of the blunder by the label, this release should give Merrell the worldwide recognition he so richly deserves. This legendary multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter/producer (he co-produced this effort with William McEuen) deserves more respect in regards to this ambitious project.

The one thing that is for certain, this album derives inspiration from Merrell's own personal beliefs and feelings regarding the Lost Continent of MU. Merrell seems to be the modern day reincarnate from MU with a message for us all in his music. He returns us to his Polynesian paradise to enchant and mesmerize, as only he can with some incredibly beautiful and lush sounds via a virtual waterfall of music gathered from the drops of the rainforest. The message comes translated through guitars, sitar, percussion, flute, dobro, mandolin, piano, saxophone, virtually every instrument that is able to create the necessary vibe and mood of this atmospheric rock cornucopia. If for some reason you cannot transport to MU by way of this music, I feel sorry for you, as your imagination must have been lost somewhere along the way during your travels. Let Dr. Fankhauser give you the magic elixir to spark your thoughts and dreams once again with his alluring tropical island blend of rock music.

Songs like "Polynesian Dream," with Dean Torrance providing harmony, "Time Travellers," and "Under A Maui Moon" engage you with a blend of guitars, sitar and dobro that will pull you out into a musical ocean of beauty like a prevailing tide. I especially enjoyed the psychedelic rockin' guitar licks in "Goin' Down To Atlantis." Those are a just few of my favorites; to be honest the entire album was an absolute delight to experience. After listening several times to this fantastical trip to the islands of paradise in my mind's eye, I know why Merrell said that this is the most prolific recording he has released in 25 years. If you listen to this music in the spirit that the artist created it in, you will most certainly agree that this recording will be one of the most satisfying trips you will take this year. It is time to climb aboard the "Mothership Fankhauser" and come to understand the brilliance of this man as a musician and producer. His talent rivals that of Brian Wilson and similarly prolific artists. I feel that strongly about his abilities. Buy this CD and you will find out exactly what I mean.

Mystical Land (3:53) / Waterfall (3:57) / On Our Way To Hana (3:48) / Pictures Of The Ast (4:33) / The Unknown Writer (3:54) / Queen Mu (4:34) / Mother Sea (3:07) / Beckoning Maiden (2:44) / Polynesian Dream (5:12) / Time Travellers (3:47) / Prospectors Moon (4:28) / Goin' Down To Atlantis (3:20) / The Land Of Mu (4:32) / Under A Maui Moon (7:42) / Matthew's Dream (5:18) / Lodru's Mu Chant (1:32) / The Mothership (5:02) / Mu Rainforest (2:08)

Merrell Fankhauser - vocals, tenor guitar, bass keyboard, 12 & 6 string guitars, acoustic & electric guitars, dobro, slide guitar, keyboard strings
John McEuen - mandolin (1, 13), background vocal (10, 12), lead guitar (10)
Don Carmardella - piano (1, 9, 10, 15), keyboard (1), bass (7, 8), strings (13, 15)
Paul Delph - background vocals (1, 8), piano (5, 8), strings (5), keyboard strings (10), drums (12)
Tim Fankhauser - background vocals (1, 4, 6, 9, 11), acoustic guitar solo (11)
Lorenzo Martinez - congas (1, 10, 12, 15)
Luis Munoz - percussion (1, 2, 3, 10)
Jerry Sagouspe - drums (1, 6, 9, 11), background vocals (6)
Bruce Clark - flute (1, 5, 7, 13), sax (9)
William E McEuen - percussion (1, 12), tambourine (7, 9, 13)
John Cipollina - slide guitar (2)
Randy Tico - bass (2, 3, 4, 17, 18)
Mary Lee - violin (2, 3)
Jay Ferguson - vibes, synthesizer, percussion (2, 3, 4), keyboard (6, 11, 16), flute (11), keyboard strings (18)
Marsha Sherman - harp (2, 3)
Bill Berg - drums (3)
Steven Meese - piano (3)
Jimmy Dillon - electric guitar (3)
Ed Cassidy - drums (5)
Nicky Hopkins - piano, Kurzweil strings (6)
Bruce Sahroian - bass (7, 15)
Art Dougall - drums (7, 15)
Fred Ralston - vibes (7, 15)
Dean Torrance - background vocal (9)
Jim McRae - bass (9)
Darrell Thatcher - steel guitar (9, 10)
Ned Christiansen - Kurzweil strings (11)
Mike Bennet - bass (11)
Donnie "Divino" Smith - sitar (14)
Stephen Bee - flute, Indian drum (14)
Chris Olson - percussion
Anna Romero - background vocal (15)
Ben Benay - acoustic guitars (17, 18)
Bill Cuomo - keyboard (17, 18)
Gary Malabar - drums (17)
The MU People - tribal drums (18)
Ernie Anderson - MU God voice (18)

Merrell and the Exiles - The Early Years
HMS Bounty - Things (1968)
Merrell Fankhauser (1976) A Day In Paradise (1985) The Maui Album (1988) Doctor Fankhauser (1996) Further Up The Road (2001) Mu (1971) End Of An Era (1988) First Album (1996) The Last Album (2003) Return To Mu (2003)
Rockin And Surfin (2004)
The Whole Day Ahead Of Us (2008)

Genre: VA

Origin US

Added: July 27th 2003
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website:
Hits: 1221
Language: english


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