This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 2/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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On "Mystery Play," a song touting the value of human connections and friendships even if the element of eros may be lacking, Lui Collins sings "you remind me of someone I'd like to know." Listeners will have similar reactions about getting to know the cuts on this release. Collins and producer Dana Robinson achieve a sensitive balance between each song's musical setting and Collins' sweet vocals. Each stands well enough alone but their combined sum is greater than the whole.
Among the cuts, Collins sings an Irish fable, peeks into nature, takes a humorous poke at time management, and offers more than a few glimpses into different types of relationships. Robinson's mandolin backing on these tales deserves special mention, as does the assistance provided by both Pete Sutherland and Johnny Cunningham on fiddle, and Gideon Freudmann on cello.
Tackling the time-is-money, rat race ogre in "Things To Do," Collins says of this modern day malady:
"I got a lot to do this morning, so much on my mindThe bittersweet "The Dark Silkie" tells the tale of the undeniable and incessant call of nature. A silkie emerges from the water, forsakes her skin for a land-based human relationship but continually feels the pull of her real home. She sings:
A restless gnawing in my gut, I know I'm way behind
If I keep pluggin' hard to midnight
I'm bound to get ahead
Maybe catch up to where I was
When I got out of bed..."
"...Yet though he claimed her heartCollins closes with:
her soul was of the sea..."
"...her heart is poundingThe exotic rush of love feeling in "Green Light" is balanced by the lets-be-friends message of "Mystery Play." Collins sings in "Green Light:"
as she turns her head towards home
One glance behind her,
but a moment's hesitation
She glides into the sea,
her movements strong and sure."
"Is this love, can this be love?Despite some misgivings at diving headlong into a relationship, Collins sings:
The heart floods full till it must break..."
"...the strongest pull, mysteryIn "Mystery Play," she describes another side:
Green light is all the heart believes..."
"...Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with youPat Humphries' uplifting anthem of universal humanity, "Swimming To The Other Side," closes out the release.
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will..."
Lui Collins fans will certainly find what they are looking for here. Newcomers will get an exquisite introduction to her talent.
Collins on vocals, guitar and banjo, is backed by Dana Robinson on harmony vocals, guitar, mandolin and banjo; Pete Sutherland on fiddle; Johnny Cunningham on fiddle; Gideon Freudmann on cello; Rose Sinclair on accordion; Andrew Kinsey on acoustic bass; Jenny Hersch on acoustic bass; and Doug Plavin on drums and percussion.
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