A review written for the Folk and Music Exchange by
You meet the most interesting people on a Darryl Purpose CD. Traveler's Code is his "produced" follow-up to his "one take," live-in-the-studio CD from 1997, Darryl Purpose. In fact a couple of the songs from DP show up in a slightly reworked fashion on Traveler's Code. Produced by David Minor, Traveler's Code introduces us to a variety of characters, all of whom we have no trouble believing are people that have drifted in and out of Purpose's life over the years. In the opening song, Mr. Schwinn, we meet An old man who fixes bicycles for the local children and builds his "perfectly-matched" his and her bikes that he is saving for his own "Mrs. Schwinn," whenever he may find her. Of course, he never does meet Mrs. Schwinn, and therein lies the story.
Another memorable character that Purpose introduces us to is the little red-haired four-year-old child that "I thought I'd never know." She has a gambler father who is never home, and both father and daughter are somewhat disappointed with their lot in life. The daughter would prefer a father who is home, and the father would prefer to not hear about what a lousy father he knows he is. On this song, Child of Hearts, we are brought into their world. As adults and parents, we sometimes need to be reminded that we're responsible for these little people who look up to us. They inconvenience us sometimes, and we certainly disappoint them, but it all comes down to needing each other and doing the best we can. No excuses. Ellis Paul does a fine job with backup harmonies on this one, and helps to make it one of the most moving songs on the CD. Harry Chapin would be proud.
On The Last Great Kiss of the 20th Century, Purpose reworks a song that he recorded on his Darryl Purpose CD from a couple of years ago. This song introduces us to two people who are going to ring the century out in style with the "last great kiss of the 20th century." Of course, all educated people know that the century doesn't really end until 2001, and this is the basis for his reworking the ending to this song. It's clever, witty, touching, and will leave you smiling.
There are many other great characters on this CD: Sunny, Annie, Mary, and Barbara, to name a few, but the most enduring character is Purpose himself. He has done a wonderful job creating the persona of a traveling man who is looking for something; his next card game, his next song, or his next love. In the song For The Story he sings:
|I've lived my whole life for the story |
Did it all for a song.
Took my chances, didn't worry
About eventual outcomes.
And I let some people down along the way,
Like a dreamer sometimes does.
But you know that I tried to do the right thing,
Near as I could tell what that was.
Traveler's Code will speak to all those that are looking for something. His stories are little romantic novels set to music, with an undercurrent of melancholy. They will linger with you long after the music ends.
In addition to Ellis Paul helping out on vocals, there is also Lucy Kaplansky, who once again shows that she is one of the most talented singers out there today. Other musicians who help out include: Darryl S., Bob Malone, David Minor, Walter Rodriguez, Ron Aniello, Kate Minor, Hannah Dwinell, and Olivia Minor.
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Edited by: Jonathan Colcord