Chuck Brodsky tells a good story in quite a linear fashion that lets the listener follow along with minimal doubt about what the story is really about. This is the way not of poets, but more in the tradition followed by all good folk music storytellers. To enhance and flesh out his sound, he has enlisted the help of a few able-bodied musicians who more than competently play a wide variety of instruments with a flair for which they should be proud. They don't get much chance to really step up into their licks, as Radio is a songwriter's disc and not a musicians'. There is a rural Southern sensibility about this CD; Brodsky's vocal style owes a lot to the Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan lineage, but as mentioned before, unlike Dylan, his tunes are straight-ahead stories as opposed to stories veiled in obscure references that invite wild speculation about their meanings. The opening cut, "La Migra Viene," is a real grabber, with a strong, rich sound very much like the earliest work of Bruce Springsteen -- a good strong beat and some catchy hooks to bring you into the story. The rest of the disc stays closer to the more traditional folk music idiom with its sparser instrumentation. All the cuts are written by Chuck Brodsky except the closer, "Circle," which is by Annie Gallup. This is strong on the songs, and they are well-crafted stories, but it seems to lack a fire to take it to a higher level.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bob Gottlieb