This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 3/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Possessing an engaging voice that invites listening, Darryl Purpose's latest release is a mixture of stories and ballads covering unrequited love, a bachelor tradesman's solitary life, romance and all its vicissitudes (with one song saucily titled "Last Great Kiss of the 20th Century"), what the results are when greed, ignorance and racial prejudice are combined, a Christmas family reunification, and the current residence where the dearly departed singer/songwriter greats are currently gigging.
Although employing a lean presentation consisting of his own fanciful fingerstyle guitar licks and Daryl S. adding sweet and soulful touches on violin, Purpose still engenders a larger-than-life presence capable of enveloping a room. The mix of his strong vocals with the music and lyrics form a bewitching combination that compel attention.
He opens with "Halfway Home," a ballad about a societal outcast's unrequited love from his early teen years to young adulthood. As he is tragically dying, a vision appears that at last and at least allows him some comfort before his passing.
The touching and understated "Mr. Schwinn" is about a lonely small town bicycle repairer who steadfastly keeps a pair of bicycles handy for his honeymoon ride with his future bride. This tour sadly never takes place although the cut has a nice little twist at the end.
The indicting "Cherokee" lambastes the crucifixion of Indian culture for amusement and money-making purposes, and provides a powerful kick in the last verse when ornaments of the Christian faith are substituted for Indian figures. This transposition crystallizes the message for those having difficulty seeing the light, so to speak.
For those DJs searching for new holiday musical material, "You Must Go Home Again," is a lump-in-your-throat tune with a happy ending.
"Singer/Songwriter Heaven" is a witty take on meeting up in the afterlife with some of the departed icons of folk music. Talking more than singing, Purpose dreamily takes a taxi ride with Harry Chapin, saying "How are you, Harry?", past "writer's block" and coffeehouses where people are "noddin' over coffee". Cleverly capturing the personality traits of Stan Rogers, Steve Goodman, Gram Parsons, Jim Croce, and Chapin, this song is both humorous and endearing while gently reminding the listener of how much these talented performers are missed. As for why these poor souls died so young, Chapin offers "...We need good songs up here too...angels tired of singing same old rhymes...".
Purpose is another in the long line of quality troubadors who quirkily bask in the shadows of anonymity. Certainly this release will not alter the fame and fortune of this artist, but it will provide solid entertainment to those lucky listeners who get their hands on it.
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