Marian Call covers Joni's Chelsea Morning, but the CD's lead cut Fret is much more wrought from the elder chanteuse's Twisted vein, slippery, winding as an eel, scatty, and post-beatnik. Call also likes Mitchell's bottom line: voice and acoustic guitar as fundaments to everything, her vocals almost jazzily considered for so folk a vibe and the guitar making sure her larynx doesn't get too far out of line, keeping the old Newport / Monterey tradition. Then David Salge adds in a Pete Chrislieb-ish clarinet sounding to be somewhere in the contrabass range, and the comparisons are all the more made.
I hear more of Joni's Blue period instrumentally but Court & Spark lyrically. Marian calls her style "Alaskan folk funk for the coffee counter culture" and that's where she takes it, quite mindful, to these ears, of the superb Ditty Bops. Tons o' sass match the fire of her tresses, as well as a goodly modicum of earthy honesty cut with the conflicts of ego and effacement. Call ushers in 14 sessioneers but uses them sparingly, retaining her centrality and the uncomplicated uncluttered nature of the entire atmosphere.
Vanilla (at least I think its Vanilla…the liner shows 12 cuts but drops out two in the listings, so I'm not sure what's really up) is in fact the exact opposite of Twisted but just as compelling, using a typewriter as a device kinda like Vigrass & Osborne did in their brilliant Daily Depress. This whole CD is definitely folk, melding the past with the present exceedingly well—with cheek, fun, a breezy atmosphere running between the serious and the lighthearted, and a whole lot of damn good singing, composing, and arranging (check out the great chamber treatment in RX: Stop What You're Doing).
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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