A Review of the CD
"The Man With a Rhyme"
by Archie Fisher

"The Man With a Rhyme"
by Archie Fisher

Copyright 1997 CD-61
Folk-Legacy Records
P.O. Box 1148
Sharon, CT 06069
ph: (512)472-6036

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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The answer is: a gentle presentation, soaked in authenticity and tradition, radiating a quiet power. The question? "What is Archie Fisher's re-release of "The Man With a Rhyme," first issued in 1976?" Even back in the 70s, the relatively youngish Fisher emanated a certain cachet, charming and intriguing listeners with a mixture of versions of long-ago tunes blended with his own compositions. This release is the incontrovertible evidence.

The finest cuts here are Fisher's own creations: "Dark Eyed Molly," "Western Island" and "Witch of the West-mer-lands," (possibly better known for its rollicking rendition by the late Canadian folksinger Stan Rogers).

The subdued "Dark Eyed Molly" presents Fisher on vocals and guitar depicting a man fervently wishing to, but unsure of the viability of, renewing a relationship with his still-beloved. Haunted by visions of her deep dark eyes and swirling brown hair, he is initially defiant but then frankly honest in his reaction to the possibility of failure:

The rhythmic "Western Island," with Fisher again simply on vocals and guitar, paints a stark portrait of the concurrent independence and inter-dependence of man with both his fellow humans and the natural environment. Fisher sings: He concludes with: "Witch of the West-mer-lands," arguably Fisher's greatest song to date, is a masterfully crafted ballad echoing mythology and legend. It is as vivid and evocative as a short story, with Fisher magically capturing time and place. He opens the tune with: The knight, initially alarmed by the appearance of the witch, composed of "half the form of a maiden fair with a jet black mare's body," finally succumbs to her treatment: Stewart MacGregor's "Coshieville" has an itinerant construction worker moving with his work, nonchalantly spurning his local lover: He eventually returns but discovers it is too late--for him: The remaining cuts are almost exclusively traditional pieces. Fisher has chosen his material well and even added "Helen of Kirkconnell Lea" to this offering. This release contains more traditional material than Fisher's 1995 masterpiece "Sunsets I've Galloped Into" but it showcases his ability to breathe new life and interpretation into sometimes dusty, timeworn tales.

Fisher is ably backed by Wendy Grossman on concertina, banjo and dulcimer; Kathy Westra on cello; Lani Herrmann on fiddle; Ann Mayo Muir on flute; and Lorraine Lee on dulcimer.

Track List:

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