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MARY LOU FULTON/We'll Tell Stories: With a wildly diverse life that almost feels like a movie script and an album that couldn't have been made as an indie record even a few years ago, Fulton blasts out of the box with a debut that totally catches you by the ear. The music is folk/roots, the lyrics are such a strong message, Western Union couldn't deliver it. And it's all done without being strident. One of the rare ones that easily walks it like she talks it, this is a highly impressive debut that makes a good case for setting aside your genre prejudices and diving right in.

SHANNON GUNN/On A Mountain: A Canadian jazz vocal treasure, Gunn recently passed away without leaving a recorded legacy. This previously unreleased 2001 recording now fills that void. With a smoking crew behind her and a vibe that just doesn't quit, this classic thrush will be remembered and is assured of a proper send off. Jazz vocal fans will be saying ‘better late than never'.
(Cellar 52001)

MONTREAL JAZZ TRIO: A nice, solid jazz piano trio that has an edge that's too hip for cocktail music and comes from deep in the pocket. Solid swingers, whether handling originals or classics, they have the touch and feel to make it happen righteously. A very pleasing set that doesn't need any context to be purely enjoyable. Well done.
(Odd Sound 20)

JIMMY CARTER/Blind Faith: It's respect your geezer time. The co-founder and last original member of The Blind Boys of Alabama, Carter is finally making his solo debut after amassing 80 years of singing under his belt. With sympathetic production and a great guest list, this is one of those records that had to be made. Accenting the secular side of gospel music, this entertainer might be expected to take you to church but he also takes you anyplace soul is welcome as well. A real killer of a date.
(RPM Studio)

DAN ASHLEY/Out There: If Joel Daly could be a country singer when he wasn't on camera delivering the news, why can't this SF anchor rock out as a very credible AOR bombast singer that knows how to rock out. You could give this set a blind fold test. You would place it firmly in the 70s but you'd place it a lot closer to Y&T than you would Ted Baxter. It's clear he knows how to make news as well as report it.
(Seismic Shift)

SWEET PICKLES/Higher Idills: A power trio that reflects the new sound of rebellion by letting it's punk roots show as it traverses the genre blending that's part of the underground sound as well. This can easily infect the suburbs via all the new platforms that won't deny it access, you shouldn't be surprised if you hear this pumping out of high school bathrooms during smoke breaks.

JOHN WORT HANNAM/Long Haul: The vet folkie comes to terms with a lot of the loose ends in his life for a personal album that reaches out to everyone and turns out to be a real mind blower. With a gift for simple direct words that can wind up being used like weapons, Hannam takes the 70s folkie vision and brings it firmly into today. With an organic backing that's not quite back porch, this set bridges the gap between city and country with denizens of both being able to equally enjoy it. This is a songwriter really hitting his mark squarely.
(Black Hen 95)

DAVID BECK'S TEJANO WEEKEND/Vol. 2: Just when you think you've heard everything, along comes this Tex-Mex crew with a loping Tejano version of "Live Forever" and you're off to the races again. As purely Texas as the Texas Tornados before them, this crew of muso vets know what they have to do to get their point across and their hammer is true. A different serving of Texas music that gringos are generally used to, this is coming at you directly from a border town when the sun is slowly going down and the brisket's not quite rightly roasted yet. Another instance of white boys mastering the ethnic arts without it being cultural appropriation. Hell, it's cultural appreciation.

LINDSAY MUNROE/Frogs and Birds: It takes a mom with three autistic kids to know how to deliver the word in just the right measure to keep the young ‘uns on track. Developing that kind of patience had to be a good proving ground for this easy rolling set that mixes message in the music to get across to the kids. Mixed in along the way are some well chosen covers that are tracks that kids love and given proper treatment here.
(Craft 3792)

BEN TATAR & the Tatar Tots/Seconds: The kiddie crooner that only sings songs about food comes back with his second set---all about food of course. The perfect role model for any kid that's sung into a hair brush in front of a mirror aping Buddy Greco even if he had no idea that Greco was a person and not a concept, it's nice to find a niche and know how to mine it properly. Fun stuff that doesn't talk down to the kids and actually gives them music they can call their own, it's serious stuff that manages to always keep it light.

Volume 45/Number 331
October 2, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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