A Review of the CD
"Flathead 6 the Demos"
by Ned Landin
"Flathead 6 the Demos"
by Ned Landin
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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So begins "When the Band Comes Out to Play," one of the more timely and
topical cuts on Ned Landin's refreshing latest release "Flathead 6 the
Demos." His exclusionary and excruciating school years, self-knowledge
of his worthiness and the fact he has something to offer, are the impetus
of a never-ending quest for validation. He continues:
"I always was the different kid
never fit into the norm
when the grade school boys had a band
they never asked me to perform
as a kid I was a dreamer
to be liked I played the fool
and I've spent a lifetime living down
all the things I never did in school..."
"...I don't have to be the leader
There's no desire to be an interloper here, just the craving to be himself
and accepted as such. Get the tissues ready if you identify with this experience--it
is clearly and painfully captured.
but I don't want to fade away
I just want to be included
when the band comes out to play...
Nineteen years of questions
twenty years of pride
a lifetime of reflection
that can eat you up inside...
Cause I never thought I was good looking
I could not make the grade
but bundled up right inside of me
was the New Years Day parade..."
Another offering, "Ramblin' Ways" is a touchingly delivered song about
the love and strength of Landin's grandmother providing the glue in keeping
viable a relationship with a traveling man (Landin's grandfather). Closing
out the cut, Landin wistfully addresses his own lifestyle:
"...You know I learned to play guitar
The anthemic but gentle "The Ways of the World" begins:
right upon my grandpa's knees
he would sing a sailor's song
and shoot to kill the breeze...
but it always was my Grandma
who knit the heart of every rhyme
for the love of one true woman
will save the poor man every time...
and so I stand before you
on the road until this day
and I pray there's someone somewhere
who'll help me quit these ramblin' ways..."
"I'll walk in the ways of the world
Landin continues his tale of personal growth with:
living my life as a pearl
a small grain of sand
in this ocean of man
at rest in continual swirl...
For I've sold all the clothes of winter
I've spent the fortunes that memories can bring
and each jewel in this sea of wisdom
knows each heart is so pure it can sing..."
"I'll not bury my face in a frown
"For You" is an exquisitely written, exhilarating love song. It goes:
or wear the shells of these ghosts as a crown
there is a place here to stand
and I will take my own hand
for to the generations of dreams I am bound...
I'd almost forgotten my name
while sidestepping the causes of blame
but now I lift my head
I will lead not be lead
for I'm proud now
I will not be ashamed..."
"...Well I've been thinking all about my life
Landin continues his heartfelt confessional with:
and I can walk away no more
I was walking and I saw the light
leading right to your door
The handle on the doorway turned
flames leapt to my heart
for you they burn
for you they burn...
I will not lose another time
I shall be forgiven
for crimes which I have known not why
decisions made in heaven
the rain did last for forty years
But now the sun will dry
for you the tears
for you the tears..."
"...I was thinking all about the signs
"Jessie" is a sweet tune about a hitchhiker waiting on the side of the
road--"Now I'm standing at the entrance, highway marker 33, looking out
across my kingdom, waiting for my destiny." He's picked up by a female
infantry reserve soldier reporting for duty who says of the possibility
of seeing action:
which are revealed to me
I've seen forgiveness come on angels wings
when you showed yourself to me
Mirages on the desert form
but the well has sprung leads through
for you the storm
for you the storm...
On the coast line of the other shore
there could surely be a fee
in payment for my finest hours
when you are standing next to me
the answer that I saw before
pales within the light
for you are more
for you are more..."
"...I would not be the first one
The hitchhiker philosophizes:
to say that I was afraid
but if you are travelling down this road
I'll be your soldier maid..."
"...Now the birthing of a nation
He closes with:
like the birthing of a child
begins somewhere between the dreams
and passions running wild
Oh, I would not cast a doubt
upon the answers that she gave
when I asked her which direction
lead from the cradle to the grave..."
"...Out along the highway running
The honesty and intensity of this release continues on: "Children of Malcontent"
offers a startingly raw view of youthful nihilism and violence while "House
Divided" eloquently provides reflections on relationships, both personal
I've many times this story told
but I would not trade a minute
for this tapestry of gold."
Landin could be characterized as a vagabond minstrel, but one with 5
prior releases and several prestigious folk awards under his belt. He possesses
a remarkable knack for adapting his vocals to effectively and appropriately
flavor each selection's presentation. He is one of the better guitarists
currently plying the folk field and the sound on these demos is crisp,
clean and full. Give him a listen to and you'll be surprised he isn't more
All songs by Ned Landin, except "St. James Alley," traditional.
- St. James Alley
- House Divided
- Ramblin' Ways
- For You
- Two Guys on a Porch
- Children of Malcontent
- Ways of the World
- And through the Night
- When the Band Comes Out to Play
- Harvard Square
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