This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/02
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Curt Bessette is a reader of World War II non-fiction. Interestingly, if not coincidentally, the most compelling songs on Bessette's latest release are primarily those that in some aspect are connected to the crucible of battle. He also blends the themes of loss and remembrance throughout his offerings.
The best-titled song on the CD, "I'll Show You Tough," oh-so-accurately paints a picture of a man, now a grandfather, still haunted by the visions and memories of his participation in World War II:
"Forgive me if I stare out the windowThe grandfather also cannot resist comparing generations and taking a jab at his own kin:
Forgive me if I'm not really here
Forgive me if I'm out of touch
Forgive me if I drink too much...
I knew some heroes...I saw a war
I've got some friends
Who can't march anymore..."
"...My grandson has a chip on his shoulder"The Replacement" captures the reality of war for the grunt who is fodder for the objectives of the military command. Bessette sings of 18-year-olds positioned at the front after a skimpy eight weeks of training:
A tattoo and a bad attitude
Walkin' round and acting tough
Thinkin' that he's got it rough..."
"...We were just some replacementsThis song rivals some of the best Eric Bogle has written on a similar theme.
We're the bodies you need
They don't ask what our names are
'Cause they know
We'll be dead in a week
This foxhole is wet
This forest is oh so cold
Last week I was young
This week I'm oh so old..."
The attack on Pearl Harbor from the viewpoint of the lost American sailors is the motif of "Sunday In Paradise." Bessette laments:
"...And the American tourists with the Japanese cameras"Long Gone The Highway" nicely depicts the use of memories as a form of life's roadside assistance. The title cut, "A Few Seconds With My Father," is a touching vignette about both a son's remembrance of his deceased father and the present day relationship the son has with his mother.
Wondering how all those dead sailors feel
And up to the surface comes the oil from the wreckage
Like blood from a wound that won't heal..."
"Boat of Memories" is a sweet reminiscence involving a recollection of family. He closes with:
"...I wave goodbye to sailing ships and face the setting sunThe songwriting is especially strong on the aforementioned selections. Bessette adds a gentle voice to the mix and does a fine job although one can easily imagine someone like Fred Eaglesmith getting his hands on "I'll Show You Tough" and producing an edgier, growling version.
And cry not for the friends I've lost
But for the all the love I've won"
This is a release that can easily be enjoyed year-round but should especially be appreciated around Veteran's Day.
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