Black Potatoe Records
12 E. Main Street
Clinton, NJ 08809
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Moshe Benarroch
At first listen, Christian Bauman's music brought to my mind many hints of Ben Harper, Martin Sexton, Tom Prasada-Rao and Tracy Chapman. Since all these singers are in the same age it is hard to believe that anyone of them was a major influence on the others. So, there is something happening here. These singers have more in common with soul singers of the sixties than with the folkies of those days or the ones that came after them. The music is still folk but the singing has expanded into a new territory. They remind me of Smokie Robinson to Nina Simone to Ray Charles, the only categorized singer songwriter that also comes to mind is Joan Armatrading, herself influenced by black singing. Is this a new generation? I don't know and I don't mind, but I am sure happy to see that singer-songwriters are expanding the genre into new territories and that there is a crowd to support these artists.
"Christian wants to come share his tunes with you!" says his very well done web page, and indeed some of the songs just sound as if someone were talking to you in the same room and just waiting for your answer, like in Running:
|I can't thank you enough, dinner was nice. |
I'm a woman who likes her red beans and rice.
Mister, could I get another cup of that coffee?
Except for the first song in this album, which seems to me like an exercise in destroying a song and in which each player seems to be playing something different. The rest of the songs in Road Dogs, Assassins, and the Queen of Ohio flow effortlessly, so, what I did was just start at number 2 (this is the digital age after all).
The music is very rhythmic, in spite of the fact that there are almost no drums. The instrumentation is interesting, with Bauman on guitar, Karl Dietel on bass and hammond organ, and the most important is Carol Sharar on violin and viola. She gives the whole album a special sense of discovery. We have also Jack Hardy on harmony vocals and Bill Hall on percussion and as the producer.
This is Bauman's second cd, and he has appeared in many compilations, including the Fast Folk Magazine releases. He may have a record for having more of his songs performed by others in Fast Folk than any other songwriter.
This is not really music to sing in the bath and it will take some time to get used to it, but it is worth the trouble. Now, if you want to know why Bauman sings at all then lets hear him in Big Bananas:
|Oh, there you go, where you off to? |
You'd think you owned stock in a music store.
You'll never make the big bananas.
I don't know why you bother anymore.
I'll never be in silk pajamas
making scenes in limousines.
You'll never see my picture on a CD,
holding tight to my Martin six-string.
But on the porch in my red bandanna,
with the flies bouncing off of the lights,
I don't sing for big bananas.
I just sing myself to sleep at night.
If you want to add some spices to your diet of Williams, Taylors, and Gorkas; or if you think that all singer-songwriters sound the same then try Bauman. He doesn't sound like the others, that's for sure.
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Edited by David N. Pyles