From the Vault...


A.J. Croce
"Fit To Serve"

© Ruf Records

Year of Release: 1998

track listing
  • Fit To Serve
  • I Don't Mind
  • Lover's Serenade
  • Trouble In Mind
  • Texas Ruby
  • Uncommon Sense
  • I'll Get Through
  • Cry To Me
  • So In Love
  • Count The Ways
  • Too Late
  • Judgement Day
  • Nobody Else

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    A.J. Croce Website
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    A.J. Croce
    "Fit To Serve"

    His second album as our Album Pick of the Week, A.J. (Adrian James) Croce returns with the third album of his career -- his 1998 release, Fit To Serve. A.J. Croce is the son of Jim Croce. In listening to A.J's music, it is very different to that of his late father. Croce's music has been categorized as Rock, Blues, Jazz. Although he did not follow in his father's footsteps in Folk/Pop, yet like his father, he is very talented in his own right.

    And just as the album that first appeared as our review, Transit, Fit To Serve is just as superior.

    The title track is definitely Rock. In reading some reviews of this album, they've compared him to Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. The title track is a definitely comparison to Tyler. "I Don't Mind" is snappy, Rock n Roll. Also, the Steven Tyler comparison is there again. "Lover's Serenade" is more soulful. "Trouble In Mind" is more New Orleans Jazz, with impressive piano playing. Jazzy Rock on "Texas Ruby." "Uncommon Sense" is a laid back and soulful number, and reminds me of Van Morrison's style. "I'll Get Through" has a basic Rock n Roll style -- happy-go-lucky and upbeat. It has you bouncing to the beat. "Cry To Me" is groovin'. It's jazzy. It's bluesy. "So In Love" is soulful. It's rockin'. It's awesome. The piano lounge styled "Count The Ways" shows another talented side, as it starts out slow, and then rocks in its upbeat fashion. "Too Late" returns to the Steven TYler'd rock, if you want to call it that. Croce's piano solos surely stands out (again). "Judgement Day" has the upbeat sound compared to Dr. John, piano and all. Lastly, things wind down a bit on "Nobody Else," a nice way to close out the album.

    Although the father and son musical styles are very different, I believe Jim Croce would have been proud of his son if he was alive. A.J. surely has made a name for himself, with his own styles of music. Fit To Serve has an appropriate title: It serves many musical styles: Rock, Blues, Jazz. Comparisons to Steven Tyler and Dr. John definitely would make an impressive to those who were wondering what A.J. Croce's music is all about, based on this particular album. There's no doubt, A.J. Croce is a very talented and gifted performer -- showcasing his piano playing surely stands out on many of his songs. Also, Croce is a songwriter, just as his father was. Only two of the thirteen songs on Fit To Serve were not written by A.J. Croce: "Trouble In Mind," and "Cry To Me," Two other songs were co-written by Croce: "Texas Ruby" and "Judgement Day" Nine of the thirteen tracks were solely written by Croce. All in all, very impressive material by the son of Jim Croce.

    For those who didn't know, Jim Croce was a popular folk rock songwriter in the 1970s. His biggest hits were "Bad Bad Leroy Brown," "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," "Time In A Bottle," "Operator," "Alabama Rain," "I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song," "Workin' At The Car Wash Blues," "I Got A Name." Unfortunately, Jim Croce died in a plane crash on September 20, 1973. His career as a songwriter was in full swing, and we could only imagine what other songs he would have written. A.J. Croce was just close to his second birthday when his father died. He may not have followed his father's footsteps in the same style, but he did follow in one form, and that is music.

    A.J. Croce's music is very impressive. A distictive voice, a prolific songwriter, a gifted musician. All the ingredients to achieve recorded albums that will truly be collected by many, and never be disappointed in each album's output. There isn't a bad track on Fit To Serve. Serve yourself some A.J. Croce on this album, and I'm sure you will want to hear more, from his previous two albums, and beyond. Since 1998, he has released six albums. His latest album was released in 2014, Twelve Tales. It is Grammy nominated in six areas: 1) Best Americana Album of the Year, 2) Best Americana Roots Performance -- "Tarnished And Shining" (produced by Allen Toussaint), 3) Best Americana Roots Song -- "Rollin' On" (co-written by Leon Russell, produced by Allen Toussaint), 4) Best Arrangement (Instrument and Vocal, "Tarnished And Shining" and 5) Best Recording Package, 6) Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical).

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    Previous Review: #1403
    Robert Cray Band--Live From Across The Pond
    Next Review: #1405
    Jimmy Buffett--Living And Dying In 3/4 Time