A Review of the Mustard's Retreat CD
"The First Album Plus"

"The First Album Plus"
by Mustard's Retreat

Copyright 2005
Mustard's Retreat

This review written by Kevin McCarthy, 10/05
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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How often do we get the opportunity to re-do moments in our lives?

Well, that's just one of the plusses of an artist's life and something Michael Hough and David Tamulevich (Mustard's Retreat) have done here with the re-release of their original musical endeavor. And get this: the songs here first appeared on vinyl and 8-track tapes. A couple even debuted on 45s! Ah, long ago and far away, a time of bad haircuts (if cut at all) and when any thought of wrinkles was confined solely to clothing.

Actually Mustard's Retreat has also added some cuts to those originally featured, bringing this release's bounty to 16 offerings.

The humorous "Last Meal" opens the release as an ode to the seemingly incongruous arts of wordplay and cuisine. An inmate condemned to die will apparently live a much longer life as a result of his requests for his supposed final nourishment.

If there is such a thing as a Chamber of Commerce for for the northeastern section of the United States, then by all means should it adopt "New England" as its theme music.

No, no convoys result but a fine story is told in "The Ballad of the Crafty Lady," a song about CB radio and the knights of roadway commerce. (CB radio? Remember, the original release datewas 1979).

The old chestnut "Shenandoah" is touchingly performed a cappella and is surprisingly moving, despite its many renditions throughout the years. The highly danceable Huddie Ledbetter's "Cotton Fields" also appears.

"Just Another Man" portrays a performer who chooses the mistress of music over his human lover.

As written in a previous review, "You Won't Know Me" is an invigorating ode to personal resolve and tranformation. "Without You" is a fitting companion piece to "You Won't Know Me" in its depiction of personal change.

About the 'madness' that sometimes accompanies the creative process, "A Song Comes in Stealing," is extremely descriptive:

"A song comes in stealing in the quiet of the evening,
Softly I play as it writes its own way.
Words borne out of turmoil and misunderstanding,
I write of visions I see through a haze..."

"The Courtship of Big Bess," a wonderful fable and an unusual love story, comes with a warning: 'don't gamble with Bess.'

Dog lovers will appreciate the canine paean "Captain's Song" and certainly identify with these lines:

"...He's big and he's burly and he can't hurt a flea
And that's why I occasionally find one on me..."

The spiritual and the carnal, depicted by "Sarah gave her soul to Jesus, but at night her body's mine," are melded in "The Gospel Show."

The closing cut, "Mustard's Retreat," is an instrumental with the liner notes explaining how the name of this duo came to fruition.

Many of us are rightfully embarrassed by the quality of our initial creative endeavors. This certainly does not apply to Mustard's Retreat.

Michael Hough on guitar, bass, lead and harmony vocals and David Tamulevich on guitar, dulcimer, harmonica, lead and harmony vocals, are backed by Paul Sivertson on harmony and drums; Morris Fulcher on piano; Libby Glover on harmony; Jan Sivertson on harmony; Karrie Potter on harmony; Joel Mabus on guitar, mandolin and fiddle; Tom Short on flute; Chris Barton on banjo; Bill Barton on mandolin and fiddle and slide guitar.

Track List:

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