This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 2/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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"Bread and Roses." Pat Humphries sings this song among the cuts featured here, and while serving bread to her listeners may not be possible, she more than makes up for it with her latest bouquet of roses. Her message is not one of strident, off-putting finger-pointing. On the contrary, this is a healing offering that pleads for a less ethnocentric and more inclusive world while also re-igniting the flickering flame of social and moral consciousness.
With her pleasing, assured vocals, Humphries paints a picture of possibilities--a universal community that looks past human differences and the fears that germinate from ignorance to recognize the solidarity of similarities. As she sings in "Swimming To The Other Side:"
"...When we get there we'll discover all of the gifts we've been given to shareHer laundry list of issues include our indebtedness to blue collar workers for all their unacknowledged accomplishments, the sordid history of shameful government treatment of American Indians, sweatshop abuses past and present, our neglect of farm laborers' working conditions, the need for collective bargaining and unionism, our turning a blind eye to sexual abuse, racism and homophobia, and the appalling omission of herstory from American history.
Have been with us since life's beginning and we never noticed they were there
We can balance at the brink of wisdom, never recognizing that we've arrived
Loving spirits will live together, we're all swimming to the other side..."
She reaches back to 1972 for the late Phil Ochs' song "Hands," celebrating the work of laborers, miners, lumberjacks and farmers while reminding us to support these individuals during their lean times.
On "No Sweat," she sings:
"We sew the clothes, the ones that you buyCalling for the opportunity of a full life--the enjoyment of basic sustenance along with food for the soul--she sings in "Bread and Roses:"
We can't afford them for ourselves, the price is too high
Our families need food, we don't need name brands
We'd just like a fair share of the money that's made off of our working hands...
They call us sweatshop workers
We live from hand to mouth
We took the jobs you lost up north
When the companies moved south..."
"...As we go marching, marching we battle too for menIn "In This Life," a healing prayer for the wounded of the world, Humphries' chorus goes:
For they are women's children let the mothers speak again
Our lives shall not be seated from birth until life closes
Hearts starve as well as bodies give us bread but give us roses...
...For it is bread we fight for but we fight for roses too
As we go marching, marching people hear our call
For the rising of the women means the rising of us all..."
"...In this lifeOffering the rock of assurance needed by our children during the trials and tribulations of growing up, Humphries sings in "I'll Be There":
I am but one of a million starving others
Robbed of everything but hunger
We are prisoners together
I am one, but one of many single voices in the silence
That refuse the lies that bind us
We are worthy, we are safe..."
"...I'll be there and I'll help you know the right thing for youCelebrating the similarities rather than recoiling from the differences, Humphries explains in "People Love" that all people who love each other, regardless of the composition of their relationship, talk, laugh, cry, dance, touch and kiss. Her second chorus goes:
It's my job to keep you safe from hurtful things that people do
'Cause I love you and I'll hold you with the strength to see you through
In your pain and in your fear
I'll be there..."
"...Would you rather teach them fear, to hate and to betray?If Humphries is offering the roses, the least we can do is supply the bread. Do your part and pick up this CD. Your soul will thank you for it.
Whether you are straight or bi or lesbian or gay
People love, people love, people love..."
Humphries on vocals and guitar, is backed by Tom Prasada-Rao on piano; David Amram on Six nations frame drum, Lakota courting flute, percussion, guiro, wood block, double D whistle, cowbell and rattle; Steve Rust on bass; Abby Newton on cello; David Hornung on accordian; Tani Tabbal on drums, shakers and conga; Joan Cornachio on piano; Mark Rust on banjo; Jay Ungar on fiddle; Sandy Opatow on harmony vocals and Tammy Humphries-Kennedy on harmony vocals; Kim and Reggie Harris on harmony vocals.
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