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This 1992 release was Jules Shear's 4th solo album. It was his strongest effort since his work with the Polar Bears - though the style is entirely unlike either of the Polar Bears' two initial releases.

On this recording are at least 7 very listenable songs -- two or three of which are as good as anything Jules has done -- while the other 4 appeal to some, but not all Shear fans. Shear's voice, as always, turns some people off immediately.

Shear moves away from the softer country and acoustic work that can be found on his earlier solo efforts, instead coming across as a solid rock balladeer - though he doesn't quite hit the frenetic energy of the Polar Bears' recordings.

The majority of these songs are about relationships - usually bleak ones. My favorite tracks are 2,1,8,9,10,4,11 and 7

Track Listing:

1. The Trap Door (Shear) - 4:13
2. The Great Puzzle (Shear) - 6:15
3. We Were Only Making Love (Shear) - 5:03
4. The Sad Sound of the Wind (Shear) - 5:09
5. Something Else to Me (Shear) - 4:41
6. Make Believe (Shear) - 5:23
7. Much Too Much (Shear/Zanes) - 4:54
8. Dreams Dissolve in Tears (Shazar/Shear) - 3:44
9. The Mystery's All Mine (Shear) - 3:55
10. Jewel in a Cobweb (Shear) - 5:07
11. Bark (Shear) - 2:19

The Great Puzzle - Jules Shear

Once again I have forgotten
My final destination
after
Chasing down too many suns
So tonight you and I
Bring desperation to this highway
And we're not the only ones

Outside a stillness that could
Only be summer

We are Mendicino bound
Feeling out of place
As the shipwreck keeps on forward
Long after it's run aground

Now I'm thinking ahead too much
But what are we then
When we're not thinking at all
I've got so many loose ends
Dragging behind me
Mysteries that want to be solved

Like a maze where you could take a thousand paths
Like all the questions that it does no good to ask
Some might accept it
Some might complain
It's a great puzzle
But you've gotta like games

Like a candle that's been recently blown out
I can still smell the smoke
From the chance turned to missed opportunity
My latest enemy of hope
A gambler knows exactly
How much you give away
With a smile and it's real
But I only gamble on myself these days
I prefer the way it feels

Now I'm thinking aloud too much
Givin' too much up
I can't wait to see the world as it is
And how the whole perception
Turns from rule into exception
With the one tiny detail I missed

Like a maze where you could take a thousand paths
Like all the questions that it does no good to ask
Some might accept it
Some might complain
It's a great puzzle
But you've gotta like games
You gotta like games
And working them through
Figuring out why some win and some lose
And where does that leave me and you

I've met coal miners who hate coal
Thieves who hate what they stole
And they think they've figured it out
Rich men who sleep preserved in warmth
Who can't be touched by any storm
Who say that they know what life is about

But it's a maze where you could take a thousand paths
It's all the questions that it does no good to ask
Some might reject it
Some go insane
It's a great puzzle
But you've gotta like games
It's a great puzzle
But you've gotta like games
It's a great puzzle
But you've gotta like games

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