Well, this is definitely folk music, but it's also definitely middlingly amateur, falls into a rut and stays there, compositionally, lyrically, and rhythmically. Chris McNamara and Rick Neeley are the center of an effort that invited a number of fellow musicians in for accompaniment, sessioneers who help but do not rescue the disc. The entire feel is of the local incense shop and touchy-feely New Age. Worse, their own lyrics and some of their choice of others' are gawdawful:
There are nine million bicycles in Beijing
That cloying stanza is from Nine Million Bicycles and National Lampoon would choke before it'd print a parody that sappy. The words are Mike Batt's—a guy who's a fairly big deal in rock, kinda like a Jeff Wayne (and if I told you the names of some of the musicians Batt's attracted to his odd enterprises, you'd you-know-what in your hat)—but they're completely in line with the McNamara / Neeley poetics. That said, there are a few decent cuts—the All Night Long Bob Gibson / Shel Silverstein cut, for instance—but the bulk is too much like the kinda community gig where the PTA brings locals in to entertain the school board in a Betty Crocker townie get-together.
Neeley & McNamara also kinda butcher Gordon Lightfoot's Shadows (aaargh! blasphemy!), though the good offices of that Parent-Teacher Vanilla Mindset would hardly know it...though I'm pretty sure the FAME reading/listening public would, and to them I leave any further judgements.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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