A Review of the Pat Maloney CD
"Perfect Oblivious Moon"
"Perfect Oblivious Moon"
by Pat Maloney
P.O. Box 1615
Dewey, AZ 86327
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Like a masterful writer or storyteller who ensconces his ideas and characters
in just the right backdrop, Pat Maloney employs the power of his prolific
poetic imagination to charming and entertaining effect on his third and
latest release. Sometimes transparent, sometimes murky, sometimes surreal,
Maloney is one of the few who truly elevates the songwriting craft with
his elegant and literate mix of words and music. The result is an exalting
treat for the listener.
Integrating musical styles and rhythms throughout the collection of
13 compositions, he opens with the quixotic title cut "Perfect Oblivious
Moon." Backed by subdued banjo picking, Maloney sings:
"...I lie 'neath the moon like a lovesick boy
His chorus goes:
passing notes to the prettiest girl in school.
My poems and my prayers and my protests of love
drop like round stones in a bottomless pool.
The chameleon beams adapt to the dreams
of the ugliest boy and the prettiest girl
and change from the grin of a Cheshire Cat
to the smile of the loneliest man in the world..."
"...But the moon don't care and he's got no ears
The bouncy "Down To The River On A Fine Brown Horse" features a penny whistle
opening, followed by a mixture of sweet violin flourishes and penny whistle
throughout. Maloney sings:
and no sympathy for these mortal tears.
The only eye he owns is blind
and it's fixed upon this heart of mine.
Still I pray all is perfectly obvious soon
by the light of the perfectly oblivious moon..."
"...You know how dry leaves run before the onslaught of a storm?
Questioning his life's work and real contribution to society on the percussion
and mandolin backed "These Hard Times," he states:
And the wind turns cold and prickly, but the air still remains warm.
And then the wind blows fiercer and the trees bend to one side
like they're all Rapunzels letting down their hair to let their Prince
Charming climb inside...
...On nights like this I feel like I'm living inside of a fairy tale.
You and I have been captured by the Prince of Darkness and thrown into
this dreary jail.
But the storm is our accomplice and this cell he will break into.
He'll whisper like a night bird's call and throw gravel at our window..."
"...The slivered sun, the slanting rain, the splintered love, the planet's
Maloney continues on singing "a secret part of me rejoices I'm not down
there too...I'll write my words and I'll glibly sing and wonder what relief
a song can bring". He adds "maybe I will make my life like old Walt Whitman
said: Instead of tears or money I will give myself instead...and every
hook and every line will be a barb to the honest mind".
Are seen as naught but poet's verse when in contrast to the universe
But all this talk of universe and sun and sky and moon
Is like a dirty joke in the empty bowl where the starved man dips his
On "China Dog," an obstinately sad take on a failed relationship, Maloney
sounds remarkably like the second coming of John Prine.
"The Trouble With A Fountain Pen," with a rhythm and harmonica backing
remindful of early Dylan, he uses the vehicle of a fountain pen and the
resulting words that pour from it for a myriad of troubles encountered.
Humorously, he seeks assistance from a therapist:
"...I thought he'd help me find my way, I didn't worry about the cost,
The poignantly sweet and soft "The Ghosts Are Dancing On The Rails" depicts
acts of simple everyday life but coalesces them into a greater meaning.
Backed by violin, Maloney sings in his second bridge:
He pulled out some inkblots, I said, "Mine look just like them,
I see you've had some troubles too with your fountain pen..."
"...All the trestles, tracks and hobo shacks, bridges, stations, round switchbacks
Closing out with the appropriately titled "Good Night," he describes the
deleterious effects of nightfall on human hearts:
exist in dreams like roadside melon stands
The future speeds on unafraid, highballing down a mountain grade
screams a greeting to the past and whistles
"Hey, look Ma, no hands..."
"...The light in the sky in the west is now dwindling.
Maloney's bridge contains his unheeded warning:
The moon's used the sun for kindling.
The night's what the lovers call young.
That's right. That old orb in the sky is deceiving,
tricks tender hearts into believing
that love's just a song to be sung....
...The dawn is now standing upon the night's shoulders.
The night withers up one day older, slithers into the shadows of sleep.
The lawn is littered with lovers' sighs and long glances and
couples emerging from trances of promises too hard to keep.
I yawn like a warrior winded and wounded from night's slings and things
the moon did.
I collapse like the sun in a heap..."
"... I tell all and tell all these lovers, but they never listen.
This transplanted upstate New Yorker, now residing in northern Arizona,
can be likened to a more western-like Jack Hardy. High praise indeed but
well earned and deserved. His talent for simultaneously providing a sense
of both spareness and fullness with his music is remarkable. Take a chance
and get this release--you absolutely won't regret it. What you'll do is
kick yourself for waiting so long.
Everything is not gold just because it glistens
Neon, flourescent and daylight are really much safer
The moon is no more than the Devil's communion wafer..."
Maloney on vocals and guitar is backed by Rosie Maloney (his wife) on
penny whistle and harmony vocals; Don Charles on acoustic guitar, banjo,
bodhran, shakers and percussion; Deb Gessner on harmony vocals; Mark Schatz
on upright bass; Ron Rutowski on violin; Kyle Harris on acoustic electric
bass; Billy Parker on mandolin; William R. Meldrum on percussion, congas
and triangle; Sonja D. Branch on mbung mbung, steel drum, tambourine and
shaker; Jenny Lynn Rust on cello; Stefan George on slide guitar, Mike Breen
on acoustic guitar and banjo; Dan King on electric slide guitar; Sue Harris
on acoustic guitar; Ed Black on dobro; Rob Hale on harmonica; and Nancy
Dalessandro on electric guitar.
All songs by Pat Maloney.
- Perfect Oblivious Moon (4:04)
- Down to the River on a Fine Brown Horse (5:01)
- These Hard Times (6:10)
- My Heart is a Violin (3:05)
- China Dog (3:19)
- You Only Come Out at Night (4:34)
- Raining Like Crazy (3:15)
- The Trouble With a Fountain Pen (4:24)
- The Ghosts Are Dancing on the Rails (4:22)
- You and That Tambourine (4:50)
- Some of the Time (3:34)
- The Girl With the Funny Mouth (5:20)
- Good Night (4:47)
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