This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/02
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Frank Morey. Sounds like your edgy accountant who promises to have your tax return done on time? Or possibly the doughy beat cop from the station around the corner? This Frank Morey is associated with dingy saloons--not fern bars, not theme bars, not wine bars. The musical clientele of his drinking establishments are a little worse for wear but gladly offer up their hard luck stories for a drink, a pill, some powder or a fleeting moment of attention.
Residing in the same zip code but not as avant garde as Tom Waits, Morey is a more melodic chronicler of the gritty, other side of the tracks. But he doesn't revel in the panache of those embroiled in a lifelong battle with ghostly demons. Nor is he a slumming-for-songs novelty act.
For if you are going to present songs such as "Barflies, Dead Dreams, and Rivers of Whiskey Lies" or "Slick and Marylou," more than a minimal knowledge of your material is necessary to pull it off. Morey appears to have certainly rubbed elbows, and possibly more, with this retinue of characters.
Morey also has the required voice for such material--he sings as if he's vocalizing through a whiskey and cigarette sheen.
In "Goin' Down Kickin'," which some would consider a chapter in Mike Tyson's autobiography, Morey sings:
"...I'm goin' down kickin', I'm a going down kickin'Thoroughly besotted with a devilish lover named Luci, Morey describes her as:
And I'm gonna step on everybody on my way down
I'm gonna scratch out an eyeball leave it in the lost and found
I'm gonna bite off an earlobe gonna spit it to the sky
And I'm gonna rage, rage, rage against the dyin' of the light
Well the lord won't take me and the devil can't make me
DT's couldn't shake me and my heart couldn't break me..."
"...Well she's red on the headIn "Slick and Marylou," Morey's wayward and penniless couple, nonetheless, have a happy ending. Who wouldn't as Marylou is described as "overfriendly" and able to "raise a man's spirits with the slide of her hand."
Fire ball in bed
Take a man's soul and leave him for dead...
Well she's tattooed her horns about an inch above her eye
She got 666 on her inner thigh..."
He follows with a Charles Bukowski-esque description of a bar's denizens in the aforementioned "Barflies, Dead Dreams, and Rivers of Whiskey Lies." Two worth mentioning:
"...Jail bait looking for a dateEmploying a Biblical motif in "Two by Two," Morey sings:
With pants so tight you can tell what she ate...
...Lovely Louise keeper of the last kept bush in town
Oh no I think I smell a brush fire..."
"The devil's been a laughing since Eve got loose"Ghosts and Guns" is a lament about the muscling out of aging hit men by younger recruits. Its elegant trumpet conclusion is a gangster version of taps.
The sky grew dark and the earth got juiced...
...God got style
God got wrath
A century's worth of chances
Then a 40-day bath
Cleanse up your murder, sin, flesh desire
The next time he rains he gonna rain down fire"
Not all the cuts work here but certainly enough do. If you'd like to take a journey to some of the scruffier neighborhoods around and visit with the inhabitants, then Frank Morey is your man.
Morey, on vocals, guitar and harmonica, is assisted by Peter Linnane on pump organ; Scott Pittman on The "Traps" Kit, bass and vocals; Joe "Tub" Faria on bass and Bryan Mac on trumpet and vocals.
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