A Review of the CD
by Chuck Brodsky

by Chuck Brodsky

Copyright 1998
Red House Records, Inc.
P.O. Box 4044
St. Paul, MN 55104
ph: (800)-695-4687
fax: (612)-644-4248

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 10/98
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Calling upon his travel experiences around this country, Chuck Brodsky puts them to music here with another collection of superb observations of this human comedy/tragedy we call life. Utilizing his easily recognizable voice in a talking/singing manner, his music and lyrics mesh well. He's probably the only songwriter who can get away with, let alone dare, rhyming "fondues" with "Jews", as he does in "On Christmas I Got Nothing."

The four strongest tracks on this release are "Our Gods," "Radio," "Blow 'Em Away," and "The Come Heres & The Been Heres."

"Our Gods," effectively backed by guitar and organ, spotlights hypocritical actions, both spoken and taken, by the human species:

He abruptly closes the song by asking a surprising question. This cut's effectiveness is enhanced because of Brodsky's decision to use "we" instead of "you" as the subject noun.

The most heartfelt tune here is the title cut "Radio," a song based on the subject of a recent Sports Illustrated article. Enhanced by guitar and organ in the background, "Radio" relates the touching story of a developmentally disabled young black man in Anderson, South Carolina being provided a purpose in life, initially though the efforts of the school's football coach, and then by the entire school and community. Radio, the young man's nickname, becomes the team water boy but then becomes much more:

This tear-jerker number demonstrates the acts of kindness and generosity we, as a species, are capable of and helps balance out the nastier and more cynical tales Brodksy relates on this CD.

"Blow 'Em Away," also appearing on the earlier Brodsky release, "A Fingerpainter's Murals," is done in a electrical version (guitar and bass) here. This song should be up for adoption by that infamous commuter club, Road Ragers of America:

Brodsky's recent move to the Asheville, North Carolina area is probably the impetus for "The Come Heres & The Been Heres." Although this is a situation being played out all across the country, the tension between the longstanding residents of a community and the new arrivals with their different values and ways of doing things, is becoming a commonplace occurence. Brodsky cleverly sketches the situation with: "La Migra Viene" comes from his apple-picking days in the Pacific Northwest and is a nice homage to travails of itinerant farmworkers. "Moe Berg: The Song" continues cementing Brodsky's reputation as the best baseball song writer around although this tune isn't as compelling as "Lefty" or "The Ballad of Eddie Klepp," two of his earlier baseball compositions.

"On Christmas I Got Nothing,", Brodsky relates his childhood tale of woe about the Christmas season. His best line, besides the aforementioned rhyming of "fondues" with "Jews", is:

Loaded with social commentary and backed with Dobro, electric and resophonic guitars, electric piano, organ, electric and acoustic bass, drums, snare, shaker, banjo, banjouki, and washboard, Brodsky sends the listener into such disparate territories as the sports world, the best and worst of small town America, immigrant life, religion, and driving hell--all for the price of a CD. Ah, cheap travel--you can't beat it.

Track List:

All songs written by Chuck Brodsky except for "Circle", written by Annie Gallup.

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