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This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 3/00
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Ellis Paul is back and in a big way. Not that he was ever gone but his latest effort, a double CD, should undoubtedly please both his most diehard fans and also increase his exposure to those yet to discover his talents. He has included many of most well-known songs here, plus added songs previously unrecorded and also provided a sprinkling of stories and poems. The opportunity to display his humorous side is afforded through the inclusion of these stories.
The poetic and unpredictable imagery of his lyrics are one aspect of what sets Paul apart from so many others in the genre. He creates with a lighter, impressionistic touch than most. That, and his unique and intimate vocals wrapped around his guitar-play make his voice seem as another instrument in the mix. He can seamlessly cry out and whisper within the same song, with equal aplomb.
What also strikes the listener is the recurring element of faith through some of the cuts: "Angel In Manhattan," "Never Lived At All," "Love's Too Familiar A Word," "Airplane Pilot Dead Head," Did Galileo Pray?" all contain this thread to some degree.
Studio versus live albums generally create relative arguments among music aficionados and this two-CD set is a mix of both concepts. Studio releases typically offer a fuller, more perfected sound while live offerings are rawer, plus contain that old bugaboo to some, applause. This one certainly contains fans' reactions plus instrument backing on a few of the cuts that differs from his previous CDs. Paul fortuitously employs Don Conoscenti, Christopher Williams, Patty Griffin, Vance Gilbert, Chris Trapper and Rachel McCartney on various cuts.
Possibly the most remarkable thing about this live two-CD set is the material that didn't make it here. Think about it: "Don't Breathe," "Paris In A Day," "All My Heroes Were Junkies," "Translucent Soul," "She Loves A Girl," and "Live In The Now" could fill a third CD. But I guess we should count our blessings such as they are.
All songs written by Ellis Paul.
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