This review written by Kevin McCarthy, 9/98
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Originally produced in 1993 and now re-released through Palmetto Records, this CD captures Mustard's Retreat (Michael Hough and David Tamulevich) live and at their quirkiest in an early 1990 performance at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
An eclectic collection of slice-of-life songs, twisted tunes, ballads, and a children's story thrown in for good measure, "5 Miles or 50,000 Years" provides the full spectrum of what Mustard's Retreat has to offer.
"The Ballad of Elmer McCurdy" relates how an outlaw's bad luck continued on long after his death via a posse's gunfire. Let me just say it involves becoming an attraction at a children's fun house.
A beautiful ballad, "Detroit 1763," encompassing going from ally to adversary and the swiftly-changing nature of relationships during the British/French/Indian skirmishes in the 1760s in what is now Michigan, is the best "straight" song this release has to offer. For those of you who love stories, this will work for you.
"Railroad Bill" is an inventive, comic, Andy Breckman-penned masterpiece. The main character, in mid-song, argues with the singer/songwriter over what action he should take next. Guess who wins?
The reaction of a mid-fifties defense industry worker to being laid off is hilariously chronicled in "Jake & Ten Ton Molly." True or not, it is pertinent today with the downsizings, consolidations and mergers currently and continuously in the news.
"Part of Me Remembers" is a soft, wistful tune about always carrying a part of a lost relationship with you, consciously or unconsciously.
This release will give the listener a good feel for what a concert by Mustard's retreat is like. Give it a shot if you are so curious.
In the liner notes, the background or impetus to each song is provided, along with the nice touch of how to contact the songwriters and storyteller who provided the material.
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