Small Potatoes

Waltz of the Wallflowers (A Dysfunctional Duet)

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Perhaps the best term to describe the music of Small Potatoes is "eclectic folk." Rich Prezioso and Jacquie Manning make a formidable team, playing country, jazz, and even an occasional Jefferson Airplane song. The album kicks off with the amusing title track, about the anxieties of two people who eye one another across the dancefloor. Prezioso and Manning sing the opposite roles, letting the thoughts of this dysfunctional couple overlap. "The Dollar Song" humorously covers the multiple qualms of making an almost trivial decision: whether or not to pick up a dollar bill on the sidewalk. These fun musical moments are balanced against songs like "Paco Is Dying Tonight," the story of the lonely death of a Mexican immigrant and Dave Morrison's "Hope (Robin's Song)," the narrative of a woman, ready to give birth to her second child, looking for something hopeful to hang on to. "Hummin' To Myself," a fine old-style jazz tune, includes some catchy slide guitar that works perfectly for the song. One of the things that make this material so successful is its lively presentation. Both Prezioso and Manning are good singers -- together and alone -- and they have written most of the material on the album. Waltz of the Wallflowers is also appealing musically, with a rich mix of acoustic instruments, including lots of good guitar work by Prezioso. It is also fortunate that Wind River hasn't tried to push Small Potatoes into any specific niche. This allows Prezioso and Manning to follow their own eccentric paths to create satisfying recordings like this one. For old fans or lovers of good acoustic music, this album shouldn't be missed.

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