A Review of the CD
"You Don't Know Me"
by Denice Franke

"You Don't Know Me"
by Denice Franke

Copyright 1997 - DF002
de niCE giRL Music
P. O. Box 540682
Houston, TX 77254

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 6/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Emotional connections. Those visible and invisible, spoken and unspoken bindings in relationships. The road maps that sometimes finally appear, do so too often after an attachment has been irretrieveably broken. These matters and more are the thematic premises reflectively covered by Houston-based Denice Franke.

Possessing a warm, charming voice, Franke also displays captivating songwriting skills and a knack for adding touches of saxophone, violin, piano or guitar that rachet up the overall effect of each cut on this release. Her vocals are strong and pure--she effortlessly delivers each composition but with a compelling presence. Her lyrical talent extends beyond the directly literal--she provides touches on each song that veer away from the typical north-south-east-west directional tracks employed by some songwriters.

Opening with the subdued and respectful "Saints," Franke weaves her touching lyrics around guitar, saxophone and keyboards. As she depicts the last passage of life in an inventive manner, her re-employment of the line "when the saints goes marchin' in" is a genuinely sublime choice.

With shimmering and soft electric guitar and piano backing on "Rainy Night Detroit," Franke sings of pain, forgiveness and the path to resolution. Opening with:

Finally, redemption is offered as she is told: In many other hands, those last two lines could come across as banal and schmaltzy but not so for Franke. She has us in that room immersed in her struggle when those lines appear, and she pulls it off with aplomb.

Gene Elders' haunting violin accentuates the effect of "Foolin' Myself," a mournful tune with a harsh twist at the end. Addressing her partner, Franke asks:

The shattering last lines are: The gently rolling and sweet "Milo" details a performer stopping his singing too soon and escaping back to the hills to live a less complicated life. Elders again adds nice violin touches on this cut.

On "Old Love Keeps on Burning" Franke dramatizes the fires of love, especially lost love in this case, sometimes turning into the fires of hell. Often those flames never extinguish, just smoldering away forever. She sings:

Eric Demmer's saxophone and Mike Sumler's piano add to the wistfulness of "You Don't Know Me," a song about the complexities in the evolution of family relationships. The transition from child-to-adult to adult-to-adult is a sometimes difficult and painful one, and at times, is never fully realized. Franke sings: She finishes with: This is a quiet, intimate release but one that demands attention. It won't work as background music because you'll find yourself stopping what you're doing, drawn into these provocative and entertaining tapestries. You'll enjoy this CD immensely.

Franke, on acoustic guitar and vocals, is backed by Glenn Fukunaga on electric bass; Eric Demmer on saxophone; Gene Elders on violin; Mike Sumler on piano and electric guitar; Paul Pearcy on percussion; Iain Matthews on supporting vocals; and Tommie Lee Jackson on supporting vocals.

Track List:

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