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FAME Review: Old Man Luedecke - My Hands are on Fire and Other Love Songs
Old Man Luedecke - My Hands are on Fire and Other Love Songs

My Hands are on Fire
and Other Love Songs

Old Man Luedecke

Black Hen Music - BHCD0062

Available from Black Hen Music.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Chris Luedecke (pronounced "Loo-da-ka") purposely contrived his stage name to telegraph the elder virtues of his musical wont: a respect for tradition and hallowed ways, a Pete Seeger / Woody Guthrie-ish sound retaining the timeless virtues and thematics of the Everyman. Banjo and a light, lilting, sometimes almost John Denver-ish voice—had Denver issued from the back woods of Kentucky—dominate the disc, emphasizing the centrality of his visions and commentary. Steve Dawson may be thanked for that as well. The gent -- producer and player here -- possesses an uncanny way when handling singers, knowing precisely how to showcase them without sacrificing a note in the backing band. His work with Jenny Whiteley (here) showed that quite clearly.

Luedecke is a busker, plain and simple. It's a dying art, I'm sorry to say, intermittently rescued by those souls not satisfied with modernity. The guy understands the eternal verities, how they recur again and again, notes the ebon soul too often dwelling in, say, governmental deeds, and, in Woe Betide the Doer of the Deed and elsewhere, spares no pains to damn 'em...but also catches the slipperiest subtleties, especially in lines like "You thought everyone would be rich when they're not poor", a brilliant observation of the economic consequences in Chicago School thinking.

Luedecke's no pontificating prophet on a far hill, and Dawson's no distanced producer. As with Whiteley, the latter is 100% into this effort, playing an eclectic assortment of instruments, helping propel the banjoist's melodies, underwriting the authenticity of the composer's purist soul. Ah, but the man had already worked for some time with Luedecke and understands his charge's street level nature, catching the bulk of the disc "live off the floor", preserving an immediacy necessary to the music's heartbeat. Small wonder, then, that the composer has also cleaved to the partnership, as discerning in the totality of his work as with each bar and measure. The result is imbued alternatingly with vitality, pensivity, and old old airs made new again.

Track List:

  • Lass Vicious
  • The Rear Guard
  • My Love Comes Stepping up the Stairs
  • Woe Betide the Doer of the Deed
  • Mountain Plain
  • Foreign Tongue
  • The Palace is Golden
  • Machu Pichu
  • Caney Fork River
  • Down the Road
  • Inchworm
All songs written by Chris Luedecke except Caney Fork River (Willie P. Bennett). 

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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