This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 2/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
What's in the water in Florida? On second thought, scratch that,
I really don't want to know. What I do know is, whether it be the
water, sun, coast line or cost of living, Florida is where a
number of folk musicians are calling home. First, Cyd Ward and
then Carrie Hamby emerged from whatever shadows can be found in the
Sunshine state with enjoyable CDs, while long-time folkie Rod MacDonald
has been in Florida for a few years, having relocated from New York.
Continuing the trend, Punta Gorda-based (don't you just love that
name) Steve Blackwell and his cohorts have released their third
collaborative CD, and the talent displayed for twining lyrics and music
into a pleasing musical marriage in the previous offerings, is again
Blackwell, some of his family members, and a few friends, have
collaborated on a number of songs about people and events of
Floridian history, plus a few inclusions covering different territory
and topics. This group utilizes a mix of instruments and slow, medium
and fast tempos, sometimes all within the same song. This is what
makes this release so enjoyable. That, plus Carrie Blackwell
Hussey's remarkable vocals.
"A Porch, A Marsh, A River" is Steve Blackwell's pleasing tribute to
his wife of 36 years. Possibly a metaphor for the tree of life,
"Mystery Tree" features Carrie Blackwell Hussey on lead vocals.
She can sing anything she wants for this reviewer.
"Plumes" details the murder of Guy Bradley, hired by the Audubon
Society to protect snowy egrets in the Everglades. At $35 an
ounce for egret feathers in 1905, the lure of filthy lucre won out over the
life of a man.
The lives of two other Florida natives, Stetson Kennedy and Harry T.
Moore, are recounted in songs of the same names. A champion of human
rights, Kennedy battled the Ku Klux Klan and others trampling upon the
freedom meant to be enjoyed by all. Moore, a school teacher and NAACP
leader, died, along with his wife, on Christmas Eve when their house
was blown up after Moore took on a corrupt and racist sheriff.
"Another Stretch Of Coastline" is a prayer for the quick and
deserved extinction of the caterpillar, that of the mechanical species.
Done in a bluegrassy style, again with the compelling vocals of
Carrie Blackwell Hussey, "Ballad Of Aamdou Diallo" recounts the 1999
death of the West African immigrant at the hands of New York City
police officers. On the lookout for a rapist, four officers fired 41
shots, hitting Diallo 19 times, as he reached for what officers thought
was a weapon. Diallo was unarmed.
The hymn, "Amazing Grace," closes out the listed songs.
Listen closely as the rhythm of this version is remarkably
in step with "The House Of The Rising Sun."
Be sure to catch the hidden track at the end. All those in the grips of the demon ukulele will surely empathize.
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