Jim Stevens: Playing Favorites


Playing Favorites

Jim Stevens


Slimpicker Productions
1427 Cherry St.
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 595-0924

A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jim Zimmerschied (banjoz@aol.com)

Here is a self-produced album of songs, mostly oldies with a couple new ones sandwiched in, by a fellow named Jim Stevens. When I first played the album, my wife walks in and comments, "Who is that? - I like it." Well, I have to admit that Steven's voice is enjoyable: a baritone reminiscent of Glenn Yarbrough (Baby the Rain Must Fall). Many of the songs on the CD are good and not too overproduced.

The best cuts on this album are Ain't Misbehavin' (Waller, Brooks, Razal), Lookin' For Trouble (Steve Goodman) and Give Yourself to Love (Kate Wolf) - although I would vote Kate's version better. Stevens's rich voice comes on strong and really makes the tunes enjoyable. A couple of the songs Stevens uses are Bill Staines tunes (Roseville Fair and Bridges). This was a little risky - the tunes are great but I think Bill does them better.

Two of the songs are Jim Stevens originals. This is a good way for an artist to introduce his work - mix them in with a bunch of popular tunes. People will be attracted by the titles so there's less risk of a complete album of new material being skipped over. Jim's It's a Sunshine Thing has a nice melody but stretches the rhymes a bit. The other original is great! I thought for sure that A Good Song was written by Steve Goodman - it is very much like his style. This is well sung and has nice vocal backup by Mark Harville.

The album contains a wide range of music, from Irving Berlin's Blue Skies to Tommy Makem of the Irish Rover's Rambles of Spring. The other tunes are The Balloon Song by Mike Williams, Johnny Be Fair by Buffe St. Marie, and Old Fashioned Tree by Becker and Williams.

Should you rush out and get this CD? There's some good singing here. The accompaniment is simple, but competent. The material is vintage, but worth hearing again. Also, A Good Song is a "finger lickin'" good song. You'll have to decide.

Edited by David Schultz

Copyright 1999, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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