Saturday, October 4, 2008

Molasses T'Rum

Yes, yes, it's Tale of Two Cities yet again, or rather its star, James Barbour, whose concert CD I bought online just to have some recording of that great voice. One online review promised that "Molasses T'Rum" makes the whole CD worth it, and indeed it does. It's a great song about the triangle trade (sugar, slaves, rum) from 1776, and it suits Barbour's baritone to a tee.

The CD itself is a little mixed. Since it's a live concert recording, all the tracks come with Barbour's spoken introductions, which are clearly scripted and not all that well scripted, with a wealth of cliché in plot and rhetoric, and most of the songs themselves are old familiar standbys. Same with his accompanist/co-concertizer Hershey Felder. Also, since he's singing with piano rather than orchestra, and selling it on a stage with no props, I think he's oversinging just a tad; he certainly loves the dramatic volume shifts. It's hard to tell, since the recording itself is not a miracle of perfection. Still, very enjoyable, especially once I loaded it into iTunes so I could skip through the spoken parts more easily. If I ever have the energy, I'll split the tracks in an editing program.

I did wish, as long as he was chewing his way through big ol' ballads, that "If Ever I Would Leave You" had been in the concert, because he played Lancelot in the national tour of Camelot a few years ago and, judging from this horrible recording on YouTube, was like a massage for the inner ear. (Take that, clichés!)

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