Prime CD - PCD64
111 East 14th Street #300
New York, NY 10003
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 1/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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A writer of short stories, newcomer Linda Dunn's songs seem like a natural outgrowth--shorter stories, generally three to six minutes in length, set to music. Opening with the cut "Bastard Amber," she immediately demonstrates a powerful lyrical talent, with as literate, insightful and painful a portrait of the psychological and life-altering ramifications of harassment as may have ever been crafted in song. She sings:
"...she inventories every single threat he madeHolding a mirror to one's real self in "Fortune's Courtesan," Dunn speaks of accepting responsibility and, therefore, taking control:
A boyish grin, a childish prank with a photograph and a razor blade
But there's nothing he can do with his little knife
That's not implicit in this chosen shadow life
The mace that's on her key chain is her talisman
The label wore off, the date expired but she keeps it close like original sin
And every time she hits the brake she feels the can
Brush against her knee just like a lover's hand
Every worn-out detail of this incident
Fades to moot, mocks her now, bores to tears every innocent friend
She never would have chosen to be one of those
Who's wishing for a scar that spells 'I told you so'..."
"...There was emerald green and there was midnight blue
A hundred richer shades, a thousand darker hues
And she could recognize herself and she could put things right
And sleep without a bastard amber light..."
"Some want to live as Fortune's CourtesanWith "In The Chelsea," Dunn ruminates on past celebrity residents of that well-known New York hotel. Singing of the sad tales of Dylan Thomas, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Sid Vicious and Nancy Spurgeon, she closes as she checks in and takes a room there:
Haggling for a little sympathy
But the only love that does not bleed you
Comes from the heart that you give away free...
...Never any peace for Fortune's Courtesan
Always looking out for a better deal
Wailing in the night like a low-rent banshee
The love's a dream but the pain is real...
...Done my time as the girl on the train tracks
Tied down waiting on the midnight train
Once you figure out that the rope's an illusion
You can never be the same..."
"...And if I feared I'd drink in all the darkness of the ChelseaDunn's "Mickey Mouse Pseudo-Zen" humorously lambastes the oxymoron behavior of the go-for-the-jugular business types who also evangelize some fashion of spirituality. She sings:
I should have feared it drank its fill from me
The carpet fades under fluorescent lights
The windows look out on anemic nights
But there are no ghosts with bitter poignant tales to tell..."
"Fresh out of college nobody was hiringIn "Guardian Angel," Dunn laments that we too often fail to see or act on the myriad of choices and opportunities before us, tending to focus more on what has gone wrong or might possibly go wrong:
Slid into clerical for ditch-digger pay
The next thing I knew I was in touch with the feelings
Of these ex-hippie baby boomer MBAs...
Maybe I'm a little too old fashioned
I liked you much better with a greedy heart
You had the good grace to leave ethereal musings
To those of us dumb enough for liberal arts...
Hate to bust up your Celestine Party
but I've got problems of my own to transcend
And I ain't got time to hear you preach me the gospel
according to your Mickey Mouse Pseudo-Zen."
"...I sit across from desks where cynics list the latest failures on commandAll the tracks here are relationship related--to people, places and things. Dunn is a masterful lyricist and composes easily identifiable portraits that will exhilarate those moved by the well-written word. Her voice is strong and pleasing. Dunn's problem is this is such a wonderful initial offering that it will be very difficult to better in future releases.
Then lean on bars with those afraid the brass rings would probably only burn their hands...
...Then someone tips the scales right in the nick of time
Bank error in my favor, favored spot in line
I make it so damn hard for luck to favor me
I kill the light and then I strain to see..."
Dunn, on vocals and acoustic guitar, is backed by Jon Carroll on keyboards, acoustic guitar, accordion, pennywhistles and background vocals; Nils Lofgren on electric guitar and electric slide guitar; J.T. Brown on bass and vocals; Robbie Magruder on drums; Pete Kennedy on electric guitar and acoustic guitar; Al Petteway on acoustic guitar and Robert Horne on acoustic guitar.
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