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This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Oh, I love a good Rutherford B. Hayes song. Perks me up each and every time. Darryl Purpose must be one assured singer-songwriter, for who else would dare open a new release with a cut featuring Hayes as a primary subject? And also throw in Chester Arthur for good measure? The restrained and sweet "California (Rutherford Hayes in the Morning)" is an intriguing connection of people and events in the latter half of the 1800s in this country.
Flippancy aside, the underlying motif throughout Purpose's offering is best summed up by a snippet of lyrics in the title cut: "the shortest path between two points is still a crooked line." The quickest way may not be the most direct in accomplishing something, good or bad. Think about our lives, past and present.
In "The Crooked Line," the title cut, Purpose laments the demise of the harmony and more natural life in the Los Angeles area, singing:
"...Now I wonder is this vast expanse of laundromats and taco standsSet in the 1850s, "There Oughta Be A Highway" continues the theme, presaging the future of the development of the western part of the United States. In the be-careful-what-you-wish-for department, a six-lane highway, food, drink, women, golden arches and fossil fuel on demand top the list of a tired traveler on horseback.
part of God's original design
Or maybe just a huge mistake that God allowed mankind to make
While we went walking down that crooked line..."
"Late For Dinner" details the life of a Vietnam vet and his wife. The wife says: "sometimes when he held me tight, he'd look like he was blind, or staring at a graveyard far away." After the vet silently disappears after 13 years of marriage, the song closes:
"...Now I almost went to look for him, but couldn't find the nerveThe bittersweet and delicate true tale "Bryant Street" details closure of a sort in a family reunion. Both "Koreatown" and "I Lost A Day To The Rain" have catchy rhythms, combined with a challenging lyrical obliqueness.
Something there did not set right with me
It could be this battle's not what I deserved
Chasing Israelites through parted seas..."
Dedicated to the people in the 1986 Great Peace March For Global Nuclear Disarmament, the message of "I Can Get There From Here," is akin to the adage that change begins with the first step. The journey may travel a crooked line but getting to the front door, then to the corner, the next town and the border is what it takes.
Purpose has a gift for musically envisioning everyday matters and presenting such in the most interesting of ways. That's certainly good enough for me.
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