Dangerous Spirits

Ray Wylie Hubbard

(Philo CD PH1206)

Philo/Rounder Records Corp.
One Camp Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140

A review written for The Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Karen Robinson


This CD is so hypnotic that I kept forgetting to review it, I just kept playing it. Dangerous Spirits is an aptly titled selection of riveting songs, a train ride of guns, prayer, passion, and acoustic guitars. Ray Wylie Hubbard is a master craftsman in the art of musical storyteller. He weaves entrancing tales and then enhances them with his singular brand of acoustic guitars.

Along for the ride with longtime comrade in guitars, Terry "Buffalo" Ware, the musical passengers and conductors on this CD include first string vocalists and players Tish Hinojosa, Sara Hickman, Lucinda Williams, Kevin Welch, Jimmy LaFave, Tony Joe White, Paul Pearcy, Kieran Kane, and Mike Henderson.

Setting this train in motion, the introspective title track gives dark romance to the shadows of a rambler's life. The first stop is made in If Heaven is Not a Place to Go, where the singer looks for a way to stay with his love. Smooth acoustic guitars slowly set the train back in motion with the poetic Without Love (We're just wastin' time). Picking up the speed on Hey That's All Right, he tells of a man intent on surviving his bad times. The music moves full speed ahead on Last Train to Amsterdam, a vivid picture of the bad seed waiting to be born.

A mesmerizing ride is taken on The Last Younger Son, leaving the listener spellbound with the narrative of an old soul with a preordained fate. Resurrection is an upbeat religious journey about Jesus being 'gone when they rolled away the stone.' Hubbard puts us back on the main track with the Crimson Dragon Tattoo, a powerful spellbinder of darkness and survival. The religious hymn of a faithless man, The Sun Also Rises, gently slows the ride. He ends the journey with The Ballad of the Crimson Kings, a melodious tale of life in music. The arrangements are outstanding, the songs are spellbinding, and the combination makes "Dangerous Spirits" a must listen, over and again.

Edited by Kerry Dexter

Copyright 1997, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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