A Review of the CD
by Richard Berman

by Richard Berman

Copyright 1998
Richard Berman/Western Mass. Music (BMI)
555 Bay Road
Amherst, MA 01002
ph: (413)-253-7570

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 9/98
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Richard Berman is back with a new CD and another collection of stories, admonitions, slices of life, and an urban legend thrown in for good measure.

He begins beautifully with an intimate paean to a wonderful relationship, appropriately titled "A Love Song." Combining nice touches of violin, cello, and viola with his guitar and vocals, he sings:

Then in an abrupt juxtaposition, Berman ends the dreaminess by barreling into "The Fortune Told," what I am classifying as his urban legend-type tune. Utilizing percussion, piano, synthesizer, guitar, and bass to create the needed mood for the lyrics, he rolls through the story and then smacks the listener across the face with a jarring revelation in the very last line of the song.

"Marco" takes a hard look at the conundrum of being forcibly "drafted" from a peasant environment into army life. After serving a term, then being discharged, the peasant draftees find it impossible to either sustain a decent way of life in the city or to return home to the grim, hand-to-mouth existence of village life. Berman sings:

Displaying good use of the violin, piano, and percussion, "Brooklyn, Summer, 1966" offers an effective slice of middle class life in the mid-60s:

Mom feels the narrator (the son), having just returned from college, should take some time off but Dad says it's time to find a summer job. The son is dreamily flashing on memories of the young woman in his life back at school and, at song's end, realizes this is the last summer he will return home.

"Jacob Weintraub" is a powerful song involving the choices we are sometimes forced into in life in order to not only survive but facilitate an easier life for our children. After losing out on a room rental once he provided his name:

Again, similar to the "The Fortune Told," the last four lines, sung matter-of-factly, carry a strong emotional impact.

A discerning take on the flowering and then ebbing of a relationship, "The Bridge," offers a window into the thoughts of one of the protagonists.

Berman wraps up this release with "Here And Now," a collection of truths involving the insight gained upon being given a second chance after foolishly walking away from a relationship because something better might be out there. The chorus goes:

With an easily recognizable voice, Berman has continued his musical growth on this CD. He employs excellent and appropriate musical touches with his songs and his lyrical insights have continued to flower with each release. It's interesting to a listener because, due to his presentation, even his most jolting tunes have an air of subtlety.

Track List:

All songs by Richard Berman.

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