Monkeys Violate the Heaven Palace

Tom Long

(RMCD-9501) Rubber Mojo Records
3244 1/2 Clay St
Newport Beach CA 92663

A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Marc A. Hoffman

This 25-minute CD presents upbeat instrumental acoustic music performed by Tom Long on guitar, mandolin, and dombek. The seven tunes are played with spirit and precision and reveal diverse musical influences: Irish, bluegrass, and even a hint of middle eastern styles are evident. The recording is crisp, clean, and delightful to listen to -- impressive also in that it was recorded in a friend's living room in between "departures from the local airport, leafblowers, and other assorted urban noises," none of which sounds are evident to the listener.

"Jerusalem Ridge," a Bill Monroe tune, features mandolin against a backdrop of bluegrass rhythm guitar and metal dombek, a successful blending of East and West. "Battersea Park," a guitar solo original, has a mysterious lilting quality that reminds me of some of the early work of Bert Jansch (of Pentangle). The other original tune, "The Train Divides at Amiens," enlists two guitars combining highly percussive right-hand slap effects with sitar-like melody lines in minor modes that are quite entrancing.

"I'm So Glad" is a Skip James piece, featuring a blues solo that begins slow and dark and then picks up with a Travis rhythm. The remaining three tracks are traditional Irish tunes: "The Butterfly," "The Broken Pledge," and "Rodney's Glory." All three are very pretty, varied in meter and tempo, and the playing is impeccable.

Long's style emphasizes intricate melody lines against a droning bass. He plays two Lowden guitars that record beautifully. I'm not sure why this CD is as short as it is, but look forward to hearing more from this touring artist. He has an earlier solo guitar CD, SATIS VERBORUM (RMCD-9201) and a book of tablature for six Irish fiddle tunes, both available from Rubber Mojo Records.

This review is copyrighted by Marc A. Hoffman 1995.
It may be reproduced with prior permission and attribution.

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