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:
Our gods must be proud
of the blood on our hands
And the way we go conquering
far away lands
In the names of our gods -
may the glory be theirs
Let the spoils & the plunders be ours..."
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:
Everyone knows Radio - the townspeople adore him
The students pat his head just like their parents did before them
Anderson, South Carolina...folks'll tell you, "Shoot...
It wasn't nothing but a little love and attention - gave voice to a mute"
"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:
Motorcycle driving between
The backed up traffic...right between the lanes
Y'know, to me...that's an act of war
I saw him coming...I opened my door
Knocked him over...pulled out my pistol...
And I blew him away..."
...The Come Heres & the Been Heres
there's talk about a fence
The whole town is divided -
half for and half against."
"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:
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