A Review of Barry McLoughlin's CD
"Pieces"Narrative Music NM0599
by Barry McLoughlin
Copyright: Narrative Music 2004.
This review is written by Dai Woosnam, email@example.com, 2/04This is the debut album from this Ontario-based singer songwriter.
From reading the notes, I discover that he apparently emigrated from
Dublin Ireland in early childhood.
Must have been early childhood alright, for there is no trace of the
Celtic in either his music or his singing voice. It is a thoroughly
North American-sounding album. I say North American rather than
American or Canadian, because the singers he so reminds one of, are
drawn from both sides of the border.
A song like “5th Avenue” sounds like pure Gordon Lightfoot. “Sarah”
sounds like David Buskin. “Dance For Me” and “Do You Still
Believe?” have (all over both songs) the DNA of his great hero,
Other tracks on this self-penned album bring to mind Jim Croce and Paul Siebel.
The songs are mainly on the subject of love found, shared, strained…
and even lost. But the general feeling is optimistic: the general tone,
mellow and reflective. The songs are easy on the ear.
He has a pleasant voice that can handle a lyric. And he writes melodies
that one detects as being tuneful, if a little derivative. The melodies
are aided by his own acoustic guitar and (especially) the considerable
efforts of multi-instrumentalist Mike Dillon. Dillon turns in a fine
job. Best of all I liked his electric bass on “We've Got Love” and his
dobro on “Thing Called Love”.
This is a most encouraging album. That I don't think the songs quite
“have it” in the lyrics department, is not the most damning of
criticism. The fact is that I am hard to please.
At least, the lyrics scan, and make sense. And that in itself is not
all that common these days! But, I think Barry would agree with
me - if he can imagine himself in the shoes of a listener who knows
neither him nor the people who inhabit and prompt his songs - that the
words are NOT going to blow that listener away.
But that said, this is an album I will return to.
I will end my piece with what might seem a vile insult. It isn't. It is
jocular reference. Here is that “insult”: NARRATIVE RECORDS REMIND ME
OF THE NAZI PARTY!
There! I've said it! These things are better “out” than “in”, eh?
What do I mean? Well I fancy that Barry's record company have taken a
leaf out of Herr Schicklgruber's book. I recall once reading that
Hitler and his half-dozen thugs decided to start the membership number
of their fledgling party at “501”: that way folk would think they had
over 500 members in record quick time!
And I see Narrative Records have chalked up 599 CDs inside a year! Ha!
Seriously though Barry, I doff my hat to you, not just for this
harmless ruse, but more importantly for a very pleasant 50+ minutes of
music. Music that is a bit of a throwback to the 70s Folk
Scene…and is none-the-worse for that.
Track List: (no timings shown)
- do you still believe? 3.42
- sarah 2.22
- dance for me 3.40
- am i the one for you? 3.34
- 5th avenue - 3.59
- when i'm gone - 2.58
- we've got love - 3.25
- you and i 3.16
- the most wonderful girl in the world 5.10
- thing called love 4.52
- pieces - 4.02
- believe in love 3.18
- i want to be there 3.21
- look at my hands and my feet 3.22
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