Red House Records
PO Box 4044
St. Paul, MN 55104
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Moshe Benarroch
So, it's the new Bob Dylan syndrome again. Though this kind of singing should really be called the "Rambling Jack Elliot School of Singing," but because his Bobness has created enough different schools of songwriting to give a place to many SOB (Sons Of Bob, this idea is copyrighted by Pete Nelson) and also Grandsons of Dylan, there's room for one more.
Chuck Brodsky is the Grandson of Dylan and the Son of John Prine. He is a storyteller, but if you are looking for a sensitive confessional singer-songwriter you better look elsewhere. Nowhere on his three CDs will you find anything personal in his songs. You will find stories of all kinds of people though, stories of Jews on Christmas, stories of baseball and stories of basketball.
These are in-the-face vocals and guitar songs. And like Prine, Brodsky seems to re-sing the same song again and again, with the same chords, just a different story. Radio sounds exactly like his first and second CDs, nothing has changed. The production is also very similar and basic.
I'm not saying all this is negative, in fact, the songwriting is of very high quality, and Brodsky's voice is effective and gives the right feeling about his words. Still, I expect some variation from CD to CD. Maybe not a revolution, but at least different instrumentation, or a different approach to the production. Something new. I think that if you like his previous CDs you'll like this one. If you've never heard of Chuck Brodsky, any of his CDs are good place to start listening to this great storyteller.
The song that touched me more than the others, and maybe Brodsky's most personal on this album is On Christmas I Got Nothing in which he tells the story of a Jew seeing the presents of his non-Jewish friends:
|We never put up trimmings' cause we never had a tree, I wouldn't know a mistletoe from a torpedo's knee, I never sat on Santa's lap - but, hey, if Jesus was a Jew... Wouldn't that make Santa be one too?|
In conclusion I would say the very thing I hate when people say it to me: this is a very god record, but Brodsky could do better.
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Edited by Virginia Wagner