Monday, August 23, 2010

Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore - Saints &Sinners

Here is the letter Paul wrote Mollie on listening to her new album, Saints & Sinners due to be released on Tuesday, September 14th!

Oh Mollie,
I am literally swooning over this album. Let me start by telling you the story of "Keep It Clean" and me. About 25 years ago someone gave me a cassette tape of a solo Phil Alvin gig. On it, he did a version of "Keep It Clean." That set me on a quest to find the original and learn about it. In the ensuing 25 years I have found 3 of the 4 versions that Charley Jordan recorded and it has remained one of my favorite blues obscurities. So, imagine my surprise, when I put on your CD blind (without my glasses on that is) and the first song is your cookin' arrangement of this classic. Not only that, you also do one of The Blasters' best covers "I'm Shakin'" and Dave Alvin acknowledges your greatness in the liner notes-wow! But it didn't stop there. I sat transfixed for the entire length of this marvelous album and was just blown away time and again by your great taste in material, the fun, authoritative arrangements of these songs, and by the purity and beauty of your voice. I've always loved your singing, but the chills it produced on songs like Richard Thompson's haunting "The Ghost Of You Walks" or the great Jesse Winchester's "Lonely For Awhile" was something altogether unexpected. (Speaking of Jesse, did you know my sister-in-law IS the Yankee Lady of the song?) I can't think of too many singers whose pipes get THAT much better with the passage of time. Yours is one of THE great instruments-really. 

But back to the selection of songs; Dave Van Ronk's "Losers" was a wonderful choice and your arrangement reminds me so much of a lost sub-genre of music. Guys like David Bromberg, Dan Hicks and Jorma Kaukonen who play songs from another era, staying true to the original, but making them indelibly their own. This is not that easy to do, but you pull it off flawlessly. Not only that, the breadth of styles you take on is so impressive. The Beatles' "Don't Bother Me" is a gem and your take on Nilsson's "Think About Your Troubles" almost had me in tears. Tom Waits is, like Dylan, very difficult to improve upon, but you do him proud on "Dead and Lovely." 

Mollie, every track on this album is a winner, and your voice deserves to be on the esophageal Mt. Rushmore. Please tell Rich how much I love the album and please, please keep singing!!!


p.s. If you don't mind, I'm going to use this gush-fest as my review of the album on our blog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a bulls-eye review of a "Must Have" recording. So, stop whatever plans you have for the weekend, at least just long enough to visit Twist and Shout and score this gem. It is truly amazing. This recording does have a very fine selection and diversity of song selections. Get it and you will not regret it.