A Review of the Terry Kitchen CD
"That's How It Used To Be

"That's How It Used To Be"
by Terry Kitchen

Copyright 2004
Urban Campfire Productions
P.O. Box 440171
Somerville, MA 02144

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 6/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Terry Kitchen is a talented tale teller, or to be more precise, a tale singer. Storytelling is seemingly fast becoming a lost art and Kitchen does his folksinger best to keep the heart of that oral tradition beating with his latest release.

He takes the listener from the beginnings of coal mining in Pennsylvania to the Ohio and North Carolina worlds of the Wright Brothers, across the world to the woe caused by the Chinese occupation of Tibet, to Boston for a look at a cultural festival and then back to Pennsylvania to document an incident of racial discrimination in college sports in the late 1940s. And all without using up your frequent flier miles!

He also offers a splendid Dave Carter-inspired song, a couple of amour-based tunes and concludes with a social commentary generated by current events.

The enjoyment of the opening cut, "Mr. Ginder's Coal," is enhanced by both its driving rhythm and Kitchen's guitar work. The Wright Brothers' quest for human flight is depicted in the niftily titled "Bang Your Head Against The Sky."

Carl Clements on wood flute provides an authentic-sounding opening to "Thin Blade Of Grass," a sad but true tale of Tibetan children migrating to India in order to be educated in their own culture.

"Echo" is a slightly different but just as effective snapshot of football-leavened hopes and dreams as Richard Berman's "Odessa." Football appears again in "The Greatest Game They Never Played" as Kitchen tells the story surrounding the 1948 Lafayette College football team's invitation to the El Paso Sun Bowl. That is, except for one player, a World War II veteran whose skin color happened to be black. Texas law didn't allow non-whites on the same field as whites. After the Lafayette dean's explanation of the team-minus-one offer to the school's faculty and students, the school said no thanks. Rightfully, someone messed with Texas on this one!

Who rules the world and why makes great creative fodder. "Ninety-nine" is a look at the true costs of our standard of living, both to us and the rest of the world.

"Jumping Fences," the Dave Carter-inspired song actually sounds as if it's authored by Carter himself--high but well-deserved praise. The listener can easily imagine Carter and partner Tracy Grammer on stage singing and strumming this fluid, jumpy cut

Some performers present the world outside them in their material, others offer a view of their interior-scape. Still others provide a combination of the two. Kitchens' strength on this release is primarily historical events. Although he tackles some sensitive subject matter head-on on a few of the cuts, this remains a gentle, subtle release due to Kitchen's vocals and presentation. But social commentary need not be bludgeon-like to work, as is finely exampled here.

Terry Kitchen on vocals, acoustic, nylon-string and electric guitars, dobro, bass, piano, synth and harmonica, is backed by Brice Buchanan on harmony vocals and electric slide guitar; Sarah Telford on harmony vocals; Larry Finn on drums and percussion; Alizon Lissance on piano, organ and accoridion; John McGann on mandolin; Carl Clements on wood flute and tenor saxophone; and Elizabeth Kinney on cello.

Track List:

All songs by Terry Kitchen, unless as noted.

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