Album: Seeking Major Tom
Artist: William Shatner
2011 Cleopatra Records
CD: CLP 4799

William Shatner: vocals
Patrick Kennison: additional guitars & vocals
Tammy Tomahawk: additional vocals
Brent Fields: additional keys & programming

featuring:
Nick Valensi (1)
Candice Night (2)
Ritchie Blackmore (2)
Lyle Lovett (3)
Brad Paisley (4)
Steve Miller (4)
Ian Paice (5)
Johnny Winter (5)
Steve Hillage (6)
Bootsy Collins (7)
Patrick Moraz (7)
Toots Hibbert (8)
Peter Frampton (9)
John Wetton (10)
Carmine Appice (11)
Wayne Kramer (11)
Sheryl Crow (12)
Michael Schenker (13)
Ernie Watts (14)
Edgar Froese (15)
Dave Davies (16)
Warren Haynes (17)
Mike Inez (19)
Zakk Wylde (19)
Steve Howe (20)

Sound effects from the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger mission


Produced by Adam Hamilton
Executive producer: Brian Perera
A&R/artist relations: John Lappen
Mastering & aditional mixing: Paul Tavenner
Co-production: Jürgen Engler/Chris Leitz (3, 6, 11, 20)
Additional mixing: Pete Mills (10)
Drum recording: Mills (11)
Sound design: Scott Liggett/Jon Schnell
Marketing & promotion: Tim Yasui
Design: Splat Graphics


Tracks:
Disc 1:
1. Major Tom (Coming Home) [P Schilling/D Lodge] (5:17), originally by Peter Shilling
2. Space Oddity [D Bowie] (4:54), originally by Davie Bowie
3. In a Little While [A Clayton/D Evans/P Hewson/L Mullen] (3:51), originally by U2
4. Space Cowboy [B Sidran/S Miller] (5:24), originally by Steve Miller
5. Space Truckin' [R Blackmore/I Gillan/R Glover/J Lord/I Paice] (5:07), originally by Deep Purple
6. Rocket Man [E John/B Taupin] (4:39), originally by Elton John
7. She Blinded Me with Science [T Dolby/J Kerr] (5:49), originally by Thomas Dolby
8. Walking on the Moon [Sting] (2:51), originally by The Police
9. Spirit in the Sky [N Greenbaum] (4:24), originally by Norman Greenbaum
10. Bohemian Rhapsody [F Mercury] (5:39), originally by Queen
11. Silver Machine [D Brock/R Calvert] (4:44), originally by Hawkwind
12. Mrs. Major Tom [K Anderson] (5:46), originally by K.I.A.

Disc 2:
13. Empty Glass [J Martin/S Chatwood/J Burrows] (3:14), originally by The Tea Party
14. Lost in the Stars [K Weil/M Anderson] (3:42), based on Frank Sinatra's version
15. Learning to Fly [D Gilmour/A Moore/B Ezrin/J Carin] (4:43), originally by Pink Floyd
16. Mr. Spaceman [R McGuinn] (2:13), originally by The Byrds
17. Twilight Zone [G Kooymans] (7:24), originally by Golder Earring
18. Struggle [Shatner/Hamilton] (4:11)
19. Iron Man [T Iommi/O Osbourne/B Ward/T Butler] (6:31), originally by Black Sabbath
20. Planet Earth [A Taylor/J Taylor/R Taylor/S LeBon/N Rhodes] (4:50), originally by Duran Duran


Notes: (***) The album makes use of linking sequences and reprises, so interpet the track times in that context. A 3LP vinyl box set with the same track list was also released.

Cleopatra Records have a consistent business model of combining covers with lengthy lists of guest stars, but unlike earlier tribute albums focused on a single act, here we have Shatner performing a range of science fiction-related songs originally by various different artists. Yes, William Shatner, James T Kirk in Star Trek, whose 'musical career' is infamous. Shatner doesn't sing so much as melodramatically recite the lyrics. It's... an acquired taste, but it kinda works for me. The spacey tracks, like "Space Oddity", work better for me than the rockers, like "Space Truckin'". And, actually, Shatner's performance is often more interesting that the guest contributions that, as with other Cleopatra Records releases, can be a bit anaemic. Yes, Patrick Moraz is on track 7, but you wouldn't know if you hadn't read the liner notes, although other guests fair better.

Perera had suggested the science fiction theme, but Shatner came up with the idea to bring together the various songs inspired by "Space Oddity" and the character of Major Tom, thus the album title. Track 18 is then an original piece by Shatner and album producer Hamilton. (HP, 18 Mar 12)
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