David Baerwald

Bedtime Stories

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Following the surprise success, and sudden collapse, of David and David, David Baerwald released Bedtime Stories in 1990 to critical acclaim. Portions of the album were written and produced in union with Joni Mitchell mainstay Larry Klein, who also plays on many of the tracks. Working the same mine as he did with David and David, Baerwald's songs are dark tales populated by often seedy characters struggling through daily life. His rough-hewn voice adds to the world-weariness of the material, but also conveys a warmth and vulnerability as exhibited on "Hello Mary," a phone call to a former lover. There's a lot to take in here from the kinetic energy of "All for You," a tale of infidelity to the bracing funk of "Dance," inspired by a Paul Bowles short story and backed by the Tower of Power horns. There are some of the usual targets such as televangelists and self-righteous censors on "Liberty Lies," and Baerwald can get preachy at times. However, he is an articulate writer and his ability to create empathy toward his characters tempers things, as on the plaintive ballad "Walk Through Fire," with its insistent chorus that builds into a pledge. Bedtime Stories is a bracing collection that shines a light on desperate situations and characters with great dignity and musicianship.

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