Through a Glass Darkly
David OlneyPhilo CD PH 1224
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
This is one of the first 1999 Philo releases and a good contender to make the top ten list of the year. Olney's first record back in the early 70's was THE CONTENDER, a rock'n'roll record that had many fans. By the end of the seventies he was into folk, but some of the anger of the rocker has always been part of his singing and songwriting.
With 60 minutes of music, THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY is one of his most consistent and focused records in his twenty-five year career as a recording artist. The first song on the album is about the end of World War I. It is a great anti-war song:
|He speaks to me in schoolboy French |
Of a soldier's life inside a trench
The look of death, the ghastly stench
I do my best to please him
The song is narrated by a prostitute in Paris and the way she sees the imminent death of the soldier, while he is making love "too hard, too fast."
Many of the songs on the cd are accompanied by violins, violas and cellos, giving them a timeless quality.
As in his previous albums, the songs here are full of people living out of the mainstream. Olney tells their stories with such conviction that he makes you believe he has lived in their skin for a long time.
Olney also plays homage to the late Townes Van Zandt with the song Snowing On Raton. Having a Van Zandt cover is becoming a major trend of singer-songwriters since Van Zandt died two years ago. The cover is also very vivid, and Olney's love for Townes' songs can be heard. In a world where singer-songwriters appear as quickly as they disappear, hearing a new recording by a veteran like Olney is something to celebrate. THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY is a good cause for celebration. It's a great cd.
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Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz