A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Kevin McCarthy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Playful. Skeptical. Clever. Wry. Damning. All of these and more describe Leon Rosselson and his latest release, Perspectives, a compilation of his 40+ years on the British folk scene. Rosselson takes events, lifestyles, economic systems and some of life's general absurdities and turns them on their respective heads, in somewhat free form social commentaries.
In They're Going to Build a Motorway he questions whether progress is really progress and, if so, for whom? Who decides and how? The poor soul in the song is facing the upheaval of a motorway being built in front of his house and belatedly wonders how did this occur and who decided to take this action?
Rosselson riffs on the excesses and inequities of capitalism in The Man Who Puffs the Big Cigar and the lack of press freedom in Ballad of a Spycatcher.
His No Cause for Alarm is a great take on nuclear power plant leaks and who should decide the severity of an accident -- those who have a financial stake or those who have their lives at stake?
What he communicates throughout this CD is question everything -- don't accept anything at face value. Just because someone with a certain power or authority says something, it doesn't make it right or true. To quote Ronald Reagan, "Trust but verify". (Could Rosselson and Reagan be cut from the same cloth?)
In Song of the Moderate Man and Consider the Majority, Rosselson also damns the average citizen, or at least those always willing to bury their heads, or endlessly compromise because it's easier to settle for less.
He possesses a limited voice, and his musical presentations might not be for everyone. For comparison purposes, I would liken him to Chris Chandler. And for those who go back a bit, he also could be compared to Tom Lehrer, although much more biting and thornier.
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[Note: Kevin McCarthy has a web site at http://www.surfnetusa.com/celtic-folk/index.html where he posts reviews of Celtic Music.]
Edited by Virginia Wagner