Chuck Brodsky's a folkie through and through, spinning out down-in-the-dust tales of the common man...except when slinging bullets and arrows at injustice, as in the intro cut He Came to Our Town, inveighing against political reptiles and smooth-talkers. The guy plays a fine guitar but the stories are the point, and the composer tells of the upsets, happinesses, contentments, curiosities, frustrations, and novelties of life in its endless expected and unexpected sidepaths and turns. Dock Ellis, for instance, relates the humorous true yarn of a pro baseball player who'd just discovered LSD…and pitched a no-hitter under the influence.
This 2-CD set was taken from gigs in North Carolina, Georgia, and Ireland, live of course, and plainly shows the minstrel's role in Brodsky's low-key but attractive style. Once he begins letting the line out, every fish is hooked and reeled in, happy to be gaffed and waiting for the next length of filigree to play out, shimmering in the sun. The audience hoots, whistles, applauds, and laughs as each unexpected turn in the road takes them down familiarity with a twist.
There's a time for cynicism and a time for joy, but Chuck Brodsky tends to walk the middle, finding warmth in the foibles and weaknesses of human beings as well as solace and hope in their strengths and common spirit. Yes, it's feel-good work, but not of the Reader's Digest variety—rather of a non-judgemental understanding that we're all trapped in circumstances often beyond our control. 9:30 Pint readily demonstrates the situation, sympathetic to individuals meshed within a concatenation of events they never had much of a say in the creation of.
I chose this disc because the guy who runs this site spoke well of Brodsky. Sometimes I agree with Dave's overviews, sometimes I don't (in fact, I Iook for certain somewhat negative adjectives for discs as indications that I'll like what he doesn't—our tastes have differences, after all), but this was a great choice, much like watching a good European movie imbued with the kind of humanist spirit too many American flicks completely ignore or artificialize. There's no fakery here at all, just lots of great listening for a good long while.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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