Something for the weekend – Episode #45 – William Shatner “Has Been”

As the proud Captain Kirk, leader of the Enterprise crew, would say: “To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before“!

William Shatner – “Has Been2004

Indeed, for the majority of us, William Shatner is famous for being the one and only Captain Kirk from the Star Trek Series. His musical skills are probably less known, which is a pity as his records are really….different from everything one is used to listen to. His first release occurred in 1968 and became a sort of cult classics in the years to come, thanks to weird covers or William Shakespeare‘s readings. “Has Been” is actually the second record he released in 2004 when he was 73 years old. Since then, he made a few other records on different themes (Space, Xmas, Blues) and one has to admit the man is amazing when one thinks he will be ninety next month!

What do we have with “Has Been” then? By far his best album, you are going to enter a strange world with completely different moods from one track to another, going from moody jazz atmospheres to punk ones or again experimental ones. I know it should not work at all…but it does and it is actually a tremendous, funny and sometimes very moving record. Will Shatner is of course very much there throughout the album but the driving force behind is Ben Folds, who is as good as a producer as he is as leader of his band The Ben Folds Five. If you are a fan of Brit Pop, Pulp‘s ‘Common People‘ cover and opening track will get you in the mood, so fantastic it is, thanks in particular to the way Joe Jackson sings the chorus. There are other excellent guests on this record, like Aimee Mann, Henry Rollins, Adrian Belew or again British writer Nick Hornby (composer of the great ‘That’s Me Trying‘ song) and they are all here to bring something else and interact with William Shatner. I personally hate comedy or so-called funny records so please do not take this album as a joke…although you may have a good laugh sometimes.

Format: CD Bought in: 2006 To be noted: Leonard Nimoy, alias Mr. Spoke, also made a few…different records. “Spaced Out“, a Shatner & Nimoy compilation is strongly recommended. Rating: 8.5/10

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