This is singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith's first live album, and it captures the essence of what has endeared Griffith to fans of both folk and cosmopolitan country. Although One Fair Summer Evening was not an immediate phenomenon at the cash registers, the revealing nature of the performance has secured it a place in the hearts of enthusiasts since its release in 1988. In addition to highlights from her six previous long-players, she also adds a few new tracks -- including her own composition "I Would Bring You Ireland" as well as "Deadwood, South Dakota" by her ex-husband, Eric Taylor -- both of which became standards in her live performance canon. Her backing band, the Blue Moon Orchestra, is known for both its instrumental prowess and its keen knack for subtlety. Examples of this delicate balance range from the intimacy of "More Than a Whisper" and "Love at the Five and Dime" to the boot-scootin' fury of "Spin on a Red Brick Floor" and "Looking for the Time (Workin' Girl)." In between is a sampling of Griffith's organic folky roots ("Trouble in the Fields") as well as her pensive ballads ("Once in a Blue Moon"), which have become standards for the legions of would-be singer/songwriters who followed. Also included are stunning readings of Julie Gold's "From a Distance" and Bill Staines' (whom Griffith rightfully compares to a neo-Woody Guthrie) "Roseville Fair." There is also a 45-minute home video companion to One Fair Summer Evening that includes most of the music from this CD; missing are "The Wing and the Wheel," "Trouble in the Fields," and "Roseville Fair," while a whimsical version of "There's a Light Beyond the Woods (Mary Margaret)" has been added.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer