Rod MacDonald

After the War

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In his 60th year, Rod MacDonald sums up his career on After the War (released in Europe under the title This One), which consists mostly of re-recordings of songs from his repertoire dating back as much as 30 years or more. It's as if someone asked him to create his own, newly minted "best-of" to fit on one CD. So, here are MacDonald favorites like "American Jerusalem," "White Buffalo," and "The Coming of the Snow," among others, the songs he performs in many of his concerts and has for many years, all sung in his pure tenor with engaging folk-rock backing arrangements. It all begins with "Opening Disclaimer," a new song in which MacDonald decries the denial of responsibility in high places and mockingly lets his listeners know that only he is responsible for the song at hand. It's a rare instance of humor on the disc, which is largely given over to sincere, thoughtful statements of personal philosophy and, especially, political issues relating to war. Another rarity is MacDonald's covering of an old pop hit, the nearly forgotten Gene Pitney song "Half Heaven -- Half Heartache," which made the Top 20 in 1963. (George Goehring, who co-wrote the song with Wally Gold and Aaron Schroeder, plays piano on the track.) It's a reminder that MacDonald can be as much of a performer as he is a writer, and makes one long for an album on which he might present himself only as a singer. As it is, After the War is an ideal purchase for the MacDonald neophyte or even an old fan wanting the highlights of his catalog on one collection.

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