A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Sonny Ochs
Eric Andersen has been putting out albums since 1965. I first met him the following year when he was a shy young man in his early twenties. His first two albums were pure folk -- no instrumentation besides his acoustic guitar (and one back-up guitar on a couple of cuts). His songs were well-crafted and some have become classics - Violets of Dawn and Thirsty Boots among others.
Thirty-one years later, Eric is still writing beautiful songs. Although he now plays with a band, (see personnel listed below) his songs would stand on their own with only the solo guitar of his younger years. On this latest album he now plays piano also. The songs are songs of life and love, including some very interesting vignettes - Belgian Bar and Trouble In Paris, for example. Eric lives in Norway part of each year, and you can hear the European influence in some of these songs.
The title cut Ghosts Upon the Road is a 10 1/2 minute spoken word piece. It's worth the price of the CD for this cut alone. The background instrumentation is perfect - a haunting harmonica playing a minor key melody with several other instruments adding to the mood. The poem is autobiographical, telling of some of the places he stayed in his formative years (including abandoned buildings in Cambridge) and some of the people he knew, many of whom didn't make it to middle age. They are obviously some of the "ghosts upon the road" of his life.
Eric's voice is unique. You know it's him immediately. One of the strengths of the excellent production of this CD is the fact that you can hear every word in every song no matter how many instruments are playing. The instruments are there for enhancement; they never take over.
I'm not a big fan of love songs but Eric does write good ones. I am particularly taken with Carry Me Away which he claims (in the liner notes) to have written in fifteen minutes. The melody is beautiful and reminiscent of his earlier songs.
The words to all the songs are included with short comments on the songs as well, which I enjoyed reading. If you're an Eric Andersen fan, you'll love this CD. If you're not familiar with his work, this is a good one to sample. By the way, for those of you who know who he is, he's as handsome as ever!!!
Edited by Paula Gregorowicz