2012-02-21Nick's Picks: ANY – except 07, 12-15 FCC ALERT: 15 Ladies Penguin Review by Steven "Nick" Nickelson of Linda Chorney Emotional Jukebox : I started listening to this cd shortly prior to discovering that Ms. Chorney was nominated for a Grammy for Best Americana Album. Her journey to that point in her life would make for a great tale (or better yet, a blues album). I picked this to listen to because I had a long vacation time to spend in the Daytona Beach area, with only sunshine, sand, and tunes (of course, the seafood) – and it was listed as a double album. (Long story about that for my blog). I was so blown away by the production and arrangement of the first cut (“I'm Only Sleeping”), a fantastic cover of an equally fantastic Lennon/McCartney song. I just had to listen on. The next cut, while original material (“Cherries”), sounded so eerily like a Cheryl Crow/Mark Knopfler/Avril Lavigne mashup, that I can understand Linda's frustration with being misidentified as Ms. Crow. (IMHO Linda is more soulful – and prettier, as well). The song itself is, again, pure genius in arrangement and production. The choice of backing musicians is top notch, as well. From that high-speed love song, we slow down to a much slower textured, ethereal (and even haunting at times) love song – sung as a duet (“Finally”). I love the songwriting – I am not too crazy about using two lead voices here. It seems to water down the emotion. And then, again, I am completely sucked into the next song with the genuinely inspired arrangement and musicianship (“Going To California”). This cover of the Led Zeppelin song can elicit an almost religious experience – it is so well-played, arranged, and sung. I just have to add that the percussion on this cut gave me goose bumps. (LISTENER'S WARNING: DO NOT LISTEN WHILE HIGH ON STREET PHARMACEUTICALS – it'll screw you up). So as not to be pigeon-holed into a specific genre, she takes a right turn onto the Dixieland Expressway with the next cut (“I'm Not Gonna Say It”), which is a real toe tapper of a song. And from there, we drift a tad into the bible beltway (at least with the righteous gospel-infused (Hallelujah!) backup singing. Just a comment here: The spoken intro was not necessary, and I (again, IMHO) may detract from the likeability of the song. “Do It While You Can” is another offering that (although in the same musical genre as the previous two) lessens the quality of the album. It may be “catchy”, but it just doesn't fit in with the rest. And then, we are brought back into the prodigious arranging and producing net with another outer-worldly cover of a Rolling Stones song (“Mother's Little Helper”). What a magical trip!! Speaking of trips, the next cut (“Let It Go”) seems to have been written specifically to screw with the listener's mind. Ditto for the next cut (“Awol”), except for the political lyrics (which I, IMHO, think is a bit “preachy” coming from a songwriter in the Americana genre). Sadly, the next three cuts are really not necessary, and may have been added as filler (“Token Feel Good Song”, “Folk Song”, “Tea Bag Party People”). They certainly don't have the same quality of songwriting as the rest of the cuts on disk one. The last cut on this cd (“Ladies Penguin”) is funny, but definitely not playable over the airwaves. It, also, is unnecessary. At this point in my review, I think that I have spent too many words on this review; however, there is a second disk that is completely different from the first disk – and, difficult to believe, I think it is musically and lyrically much better than the first! It's a pleasure to listen to a release where the artist actually took time to put out honest, well-written and heartfelt music (eg. “Mother Natures Symphony”). Would I buy this? Most certainly, and yes, I would go see her in concert. And that's my two nickels' worth........................Nick The Musicians: ・ Linda Chorney – songwriter, vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, electric guitar ・ Shawn Pelton – drums ・ Leon Pendaryis – Hammond (track 5) ・ Will Lee – bass ・ Bashiri Johnson – percussion ・ Jeff Pevar – bass, guitar, classical guitar, dobro ・ Lisa Fischer – vocals ・ Andy Burton – Hammond, xylophone, wurlitzer, piano, ding thing (sic) , mellotron ・ Ben Wisch – wurlitzer ・ Julia Kent – cello ・ Arlan Feiles– vocals, piano (tracks 3, 7) ・ Chris Tesesco – violin (track 3), fiddle (track 7) ・ Ralph Notaro – slide guitar, mandolin ・ Hernan Romero – guitar, flamenco guitar, cajon (track 4) The Songs: Disk I: 1. I'm Only Sleeping (Lennon/McCartney) 2. Cherries (L. Chorney) 3. Finally (L. Chorney) 4. Going To California (R. Plant/J. Paige) 5. I'm Not Gonna Say It (L. Chorney) 6. Broken Promise Land (L. Chorney) 7. Do it While You Can (L. Chorney) 8. Mother's Little Helper (M. Jagger/K. Richards) 9. Let it Go (L. Chorney) 10. Awol (L. Chorney) 11. Penguin Blues (L. Chorney) 12. Token Feel Good Song (L. Chorney) 13. Folk Song (L. Chorney) 14. Tea Bag Party People (L. Chorney) . 15. Ladies Penguin(L. Chorney) Disk II 1. Mother Nature's Symphony (L. Chorney)
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