4/10/10

Patty Larkin 25


Patty Larkin
25
Signature Sounds 2028

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Patty Larkin has been touring for a quarter of a century. To celebrate this milestone Larkin mined her backlist for twenty-five love songs, recorded an unplugged version of each, and asked old friends such as Greg Brown, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Rosanne Cash, John Gorka, Chris Smither, Suzanne Vega, and Cheryl Wheeler to join in. On the collection you’ll find such Larkin staples as “Tango,” “You & Me,” “Only One,” and “Chained to These Loving Arms.”

In her time Larkin has been a hungry folk artist, a fiery guitar goddess, the queen of hip, and a concert circuit favorite. These days she’s settled—perhaps too comfortably—into a moody mid-tempo songstress. Objectively speaking her double-CD anniversary release probably would have been better as a culled single disc. The first half of disc one is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell in her Heijira phase with splashes of Bonnie Raitt shining through, but it’s not until the latter half of disc two that we see sparks of the passion that Larkin had in her early days when the fire was in her belly. It’s fair to say that 25 has quite a few tracks that are similar in arrangement. But it’s also true that a half good Patty Larkin release is twice as good as most of what’s out there. Larkin saved a particularly superb cover of her classic “I’m Fine” for the final track. The raw honesty in her voice—beautifully supplemented by harmonies from The Nields—made me cry out, “You sure are Patty.”

Lousy video quality, but check out how much music one woman can get out of one acoustic guitar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt49n7r_wUI (You’ll also hear the Joni Mitchell analogy.) Check out this one to catch Larkin in her hipster mode and watch the ease with which she turns her fretboard into something primal and wondrous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyUErnnQoOc

1 comment:

susan said...

Thanks for the heads up-I'll enjoy this