A Review of the Pat Wictor CD
"Heaven is so high...and I'm so far down"

"Heaven is so high...and I'm so far down"
by Pat Wictor

Copyright 2006
RiskyDisc Records
http://www.PatWictor.com and

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/06
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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The title "Heaven is so high...and I'm so far down" sounds like it belongs in the religious section of a brick and mortar music store or online web site. While this classificationfits many of the offerings here, placement in the spiritual bin or category would be more appropriate because Wictor doesn't necessarily write and sing of any specific religion per se. These songs focus more on one's personal feelings, what's flowing through the head and heart. Call it a bevy of folk songs and blues offerings that qualify as spirituals available here.

Beginning with the opening and title cut, "Heaven is so high...and I'm so far down," Wictor laments the difficulty experiencing satisfaction or relief through various actions:

"...I'm thirsty at the river, I'm hungry at the feast
I've tasted the divine and it tastes bittersweet
I will do my duty but I'm crying to be found..."

"Rejoice in my troubles" is a lacerating self-admission by a father/brother/husband about his personal failings. The song certainly is no 'upper' but Wictor's singing, writing and playing make it compellingly enjoyable.

Rejoining the spiritual element, "I will walk with you" is so uplifting it could come straight from a hymn book. Its engaging chorus is:

"...I will take upon my shoulders your worries and your woes
I will walk with you down your darkest road
On your passage into shadows, you will not go alone
I will walk with you down your darkest road..."

The Fred McDowell and Gary Davis-written "You got to move" is straight blues and something that might be heard both on Sunday in a black church somewhere and in a darkened bar. Walter Davis' "Come Back Baby" also resides in the blues genre, with Wictor on acoustic lap slide guitar. "Don't you know me well," elevated by Bob Beach on harmonica, is still another bluesey number.

Wictor performs Bob Dylan's little-played "Oxford Town," a song with greater applications but specifically about the murders and mayhem during the civil rights battles in Mississippi.

The ghost of the late Dave Carter appears with Wictor's version of "When I Go." The very first song identified with Carter, Wictor utilizes acoustic lap slide guitar, dobro and cello to create a haunting version, one that is a beat or so slower than the original. While it doesn't always turn out this way, Wictor provides an excellent rendition.

The eloquently written "Raise my voice and sing" is stunningly performed a cappella. Bruised and battered by the daily battles that drain the human spirit, the lyrics in Wictor's chorus say each individual still counts:

"...Raise my voice and sing
Raise my voice and sing
I am here, I am here
And I am a human being
So I raise my voice and sing..."

Wictor closes with Charles Nolan's "Your gentle soul surrounds me," a paean of love and gratitude to the better half in a couple, the one whose selfless love slowly convinces the recipient of his self-worth.

A trio of components stand out here: Wictor's songwriting, his work on acoustic lap slide guitar and his voice. Wictor's instrument playing produces a bit different sound than most folk releases and his underrated vocals are clear and moving.

Call this a darkhorse release for 2006, one that if heard enough, just may land on some Top 10 lists.

Track List:

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