A review written for The Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Karen Robinson
Folk to Ska, Misfits is a Sara Hickman box of musical chocolates, an assortment of melodic delicacies for the discerning ear, lovingly prepared by a master songstress. A sampler of her recordings that never quite fit the themes of her previously issued CDs, Misfits is happily packaged in this Collection of Odds and Ends. Sara fans will be delighted with this release of unusual material, so reminiscent of a live Sara show--yet . . . not.
Thirteen of the twenty songs are Sara compositions. Musical instruments ranging from her stellar acoustic guitar to a full orchestra accompany her rich full vocals. Guest musicians and vocalists abound on these recordings, all of whom complement Sara's own musical prowess.
The first bite is Strong Woman, a rocking romp in the life of a successful businesswoman with her househusband. It is followed by Dump Truck, a quirky piece about a deviant husband sung from the viewpoint of the mistress. To soften the mood, Sara gives up the Secrets of Love II, a gentle ballad showcasing her emotive vocals and guitar. Continuing the romantic mood, she offers a duet with Sandy Abernanthy; laughter bubbles throughout this delightfully irreverent cover of Frank Loessor's, Baby, It's Cold Outside. With sweet warmth she ponders the moon's mystique in Everyone's Gone to the Moon, a luscious, yet sad ballad of life. Still moonlighting, she sings an enchanting cover of Damen Bramblett's Nobody Goes to the Moon Anymore. Back in the sun, she's off to a wedding shower in Satin Sheets for Alice, an affectionate look at the mystery of romance. The light but flavorful Rosie's Theme is her solicited but unused TV theme song written for the TV series The Trials of Rosie O'Neill.
Changing channels, she tempts her audience with the jazzy Let Me Take Your Picture, a rhythmic chant about a camera happy peeping tom. Aptly following is Hey! Where You Goin'?, a taunting pop lick at the male ego by an uncommitted woman. Back to childhood, she takes you on a wildly short ride with Grandma's Featherbed, sung by 8-year-old Sara into a Sear's tape recorder. Off the bed and jumping into False Pretenses, she delivers a melodic reproach to an unfaithful lover with a divine blend of guitar and vocal harmonies.
I Want to Go Swimming in Your Eyes is an almost Lauperish alternative jazz cut with whimsical imagery supported by an impressive group of guitarists. The box of odds and ends not empty, she includes a scatty cover of Zippity Doo-Dah" complete with scathing guitar riffs rippling throughout. A pop/rock flashback has you singing along to her frisky cover of Anthony Romeo's I Think I Love You. A little mellower, Take Me With You is a warm affirmation of everlasting love, written for her grandfather after the death of her grandmother. Sara's open heart continues to shine through in Romania, her diary of volunteer work with Romanian orphans. Here, she's accompanied by dozens of vocalists, with only stringed instruments providing the instrumental heart on this haunting melody.
A high school-aged Sara wrote Like a Collar on a Dog to, in her words, "emulate Lowell George's inimitable style...." It's a saucy pop/jazz tune about a smothering relationship, backed by a full orchestra. This " luscious assortment " would not have been complete without Sara's hilarious tribute to sci-fi movies, Radiation Man, the final cut on this CD, a song only the Hickman divinity could offer. Overall, an alternatively eclectic sampler, this compilation will please all Hickman lovers; it highlights her diverse musical talents, of which it appears she has an unlimited supply. Misfits - A Collection of Odds and Ends is one of her finest efforts to date.
Edited by Jim Dubinsky