A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Henry Koretzky
Anytime you listen to a folk music recording by a guitar/accordion duet, you might be expecting something a little unusual. If you were told that the duet consists of a formerly married couple, now happily married (to other people), your expectations might shift from the unusual to the bizarre. By the time you finally sat down and listened to the thirteen songs on Lou & Peter Berryman's new CD, DOUBLE YODEL, you'd know that you were in the presence of two delightfully twisted imaginations. But long-time fans of the Berrymans have already realized this. Peter (the he-Berryman) writes the lyrics, plays guitar, and sings some of the tunes. Lou (the she-Berryman) plays accordion, writes the melodies, and sings more of the tunes. DOUBLE YODEL is the tenth recording of these Wisconsin-based musical partners, and their songs just keep getting better all the time. Their subjects are extrapolations of some of the preciously mundane topics of everyday life, inspired by recipes ("Orange Cocoa Cake"), house ads ("New Listing"), endless winters ("Pushing Spring"), and, well, even performing music ("Every Week"). The wordplay is clever throughout, whether it involves rhyming "conversation" and "germination" in "Pushing Spring," the creative language translation of "Gadeng Vadoo," or the results of working a canine metaphor into the ground in "The Dog of Time." "Comes to Mind" is an especially gentle song of child-like wonder that mixes its fantastic speculation with a sensitive grounding in the practical. There are songs that make you smile, there are songs that make you think, and there are songs that make you think you should be spending more of your time smiling. DOUBLE YODEL has got a plentiful supply of all of the above. The recording features just Lou & Peter without any accompanying musicians, so you get a live- in-the-studio taste of the Berrymans' enchanting concert presence. Fans of these two performers will know what to expect from DOUBLE YODEL. Newcomers to the Berryman magic should prepare for as skewed a perspective as you'd want to find on CD. Check out DOUBLE YODEL for fine music, clever songs, and great fun.
[Edited by: Paula Gregorowicz]
Copyright by Three Rivers Folklife Society, 1996.
This review may be reprinted by prior permission.