A Review of the John Padovano CD
"innocent waters"

"innocent waters"
by John Padovano

John A Padovano JAP 0708

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 6/05

Marcel Proust once bit in to a madeleine cake, and he got more than his subconscious had bargained for. It served as an Instant Time Machine, speeding him back down the years to childhood. Now, as the cake was to Proust, so John Padovano has proved to me. Today, listening to this album three times through, I confess to feeling slightly drugged. Like some sort of "out of body experience": I have been whisked back to the late Sixties and early Seventies. I haven't been smoking any weed, but I promise you that the overall effect is the same. Pleasant and SO "spaced-out" man! Indeed if an album could give off a smell, it would not be "coffee" (though he bills himself as a "coffeehouse performer"), but Grade A marijuana.

His work was new to me, but by the look of things, this is his fourth album. He works out of Fair Haven, New Jersey. I sat back to listen. And the initial reaction is good. He has a tuneful voice, plays decent ­ if non-flashy ­ acoustic guitar, and blows a bluesy harmonica. On some tracks he has a percussion backing. But that is it. No studio gimmicks. I tried to get a handle on it. He was reminiscent of SOMEONE, but I could not think just WHO exactly.

At first I thought of another guy from New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen. But although there were touches of "the Boss", the real link was elsewhere. I quickly moved from Loudon Wainwright lll, to the early Dylan (both his guitar and harmonica were too good to be Mr. Zimmerman's), and then I hit upon it. Of COURSE: I was back in the days of Flower Power: back in my smoky bedsit listening to The Incredible String Band! Indeed his voice is a curious amalgam of Robin Williamson's and Mike Heron's, and the song lyrics have that same ability to run the gamut when it comes to subject matter. Alas he does not quite have their gift for melody, and so several of his songs have a "samey" feel.

He gives us an astonishing 29 tracks and a total of 70 minutes playing time. I would be failing in my duty as a reviewer if I did not say that I would personally settle for 50 minutes and some stronger material. But that said, it is just the album to meditate to, and to let wash over you.

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England.

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