A Review of the Neal & Leandra CD
"Dancing With A Ghost"
"Dancing With A Ghost"
Neal & Leandra
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/07
"Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" -- Alfred Lord Tennyson
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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"Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation" -- Kahlil Gibran
Such appears to be the predominant strains throughout the latest Neal and Leandra
release, "Dancing With A Ghost," 60 minutes of compelling reflection on
relationships -- the good, the bad and the ugly.
"Broken" opens the release, a writ small and large anthem of resilience covering the
emotional spectrum. With sentiment applicable to a
single pairing or a social movement reminiscent of those led by Mandela
or King, it opens:
"We are broken
Offered matter-of-factly,"Luis (I Know)" is a devastating
snapshot, filled with emotional twists and turns, of the hidden life of
illegal immigrants. It's impossible not to become emotionally involved
with the protagonist and his family.
we are beaten
we are battered
we are bowed
We have spoken of retreating
There's nowhere to go but
Written about a missing husband/father, the
title cut "Dancing With A Ghost" has multiple possible reference
points. A man leaves a household for good or possibly a soldier has
died overseas -- leaving behind a wife and daughter dealing with the
emotions spurred by his absence.
The most provocative line in "Complications Of A Broken Heart" -- "some
of us mend, some of us don't" -- is a spot-on nod about the
idiosyncratic and individualistic nature of loving and losing.
"The Eyes Of Your Family" is a captivating portrait
of the hard slog and choices so many in humanity face daily.
The telling chorus goes:
"...Now everybody's jumping off of something
This cut, along with "Luis (I Know)," are as stirring as Neal and
Leandra's earlier civil rights movement offering "Ready For Memphis."
That is select company.
At the end of the American dream
But we are born with nothing and we'll go out with nothing
At least that's the way it seems to me
At the end of every day there's a price you have to pay
To look square in the eyes of your family..."
"It Doesn't Matter" boils life down to the essential -- loving is
all that truly matters. What could be over the top schmaltzy in the
hand of amateurs turns into something valuable that asserts the most basic and
essential of human needs. Also falling into this category is "I Believe"
-- an ode to one's lover.
On the flip side, "Without You," depicts the difficulty in carrying on
and the sometimes simply going through the motions after the departure
of a loved one. "Beautiful Goodbye," though more upbeat, remains
melancholy-ish in presenting similar subject matter.
"Leaving" graphically exhibits the sometimes elusive and mystifying nature of love that is dissipating:
I can't make you smile do you still
We sit across the table, we hardly say a word
We don't speak each other's language, does that strike you as absurd
>I don't know how to say love me
Complete with organ backing, the gospel-like "Someone's Been Praying" takes the listener along for an upbeat journey.
Call this release an indentifiable one as any being present on this
earth for a decent amount of time will recognize themselves at multiple
points through this collection of songs.
It's also worth noting that this duo certainly hasn't succumbed to what ails
other long-termers in the music field -- that being running out of
things to say. Sparkling pearls of wisdom and intimate stories sometimes run dry with age creeping
up on musical artists, as if all has been told. That's definitely not
so with Neal and Leandra. Plus, Leandra's voice remain as sultry as
ever -- someone really should utilize her vocals in a perfume or
lingerie ad -- the sales would skyrocket!
- Broken - 4:42
- Luis (I Know) - 3:48
- Dancing With A Ghost - 4:36
- Complications Of A Broken Heart - 4:55
- The Eyes Of Your Family - 6:42
- She - 3:43
- It Doesn't Matter - 4:12
- Without You - 3:21
- I Believe - 3:54
- Leaving - 2:49
- This Road - 2:54
- Beautiful Goodbye - 4:46
- Someone's Been Praying - 3:52
- Come Back For Me - 5:03
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