Bobby McFerrin – Medicine Music 1990
Voicestra, a 10-member a capella group formed by McFerrin, and Robert McFerrin, Bobby’s father, appear on the album. “Common Threads” served as the theme song to the documentary Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt. McFerrin wrote all of the songs on Medicine Music. The lyrics to “Discipline” are based on several verses of the chapter Hebrews 12 from the New Testament, while the lyrics to “The 23rd Psalm” are based on Psalm 23 from the Old Testament.
After having a surprise hit in “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in 1988, singer Bobby McFerrin seemed to run away from success in embarrassment. He did not record as a leader for two years, and many of his subsequent projects were more in classical music than in jazz or pop. He formed the a cappella Voicestra, which seemed to miss the point, which is that he could do all the voices himself without overdubbing. This well-meaning CD, which uses the Voicestra on a few cuts plus his father, opera singer Robert McFerrin, Sr., on “Discipline,” suffers from consistently dull material; none of the songs or performances are the least bit memorable. Clearly McFerrin‘s career was drifting at this point and, even by the late ’90s, had not regained its momentum in the jazz world.
Video: Bobby McFerrin – Baby (1990)