Darrell Scott and Tim O'Brien have issued a new live CD called We're Usually A Lot Better Than This. It is taken from two live concerts played to benefit a school the performer's children attend.
Both musicians have a number of recordings issued under their own name and they recorded another duo CD called: Real Time. Generally they play in different bands with somewhat different musical styles.
What makes this CD worth shelling out dollars for in these hard economic times? Call it dynamics or charisma. When these guys get together they belt out a harmony and fire that immediately grabs the listener. The selections are varied, covering folk and bluegrass/gospel related songs. It is hard to say which song is the best since they all rate close to that description. There are three or four gospel numbers that are very well sung including the Rev. Gary Davis' Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning. A hot blues number called White Freight Liner with its driving rhythms and instrumental simulation of the tires rolling by.
Darrell Scott shows his song writing prowess in With a Memory Like Mine, Long Time Gone and The Hummingbird. He shows his banjo skills on the first tune and Long Time Gone has a driving country sound that has been played by the Dixie Chicks.
Tim O'Brien is a mainstay on the bluegrass scene. His singing is great and his mandolin and bouzouki/octave mandolin playing are outstanding. He has memorable leads on: Climbing Up A Mountain, Mike Ryan's Lament (a song about the blunder at Little Big Horn) and Mom and Dad's Waltz.
Where this CD hits its stride is when Scott and O'Brien combine their harmonies and interacting instrumentals. They push each other musically. When the audience breaks out in applause after they knocked the walls down with White Freightliner Blues Tim says: "We're usually a lot better than this". Hard to imagine that!
Here is what's on the album:
There is a lot of variety on this CD and it will demand many replays. It makes me wish I could have been at the concerts.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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