As she churns out quality albums and engaging performances like clockwork, you have to wonder why Patty Larkin is one of the most overlooked, underrated singer/songwriters around. Perhaps she is destined to lead the "underground" folk movement alongside Ellis Paul, John Gorka, and Dar Williams, rather than break through to the masses à la Shawn Colvin. Either way, with 1993's Angels Running, Larkin continues the good fight, penning some fantastic tunes and delivering them with a fine blend of class and humor. In songs such as "Who Holds Your Hand" and "I Told Him That My Dog Wouldn't Run," she both questions and embraces faith, in whatever form it takes. The latter piece details an encounter with an old flame who has been distanced emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The character struggles with his demons by reading the Bible every day, searching for his salvation, having lost who he once was. With her added harmonies, Mary-Chapin Carpenter is the perfect grounding point in this poignant tale. It's the kind of song you'll listen to many times as you dig through the layers of emotion. Never to bog things down for too long, Larkin counteracts the sentimental stuff with her unfailing sense of humor in "Might As Well Dance" and her keen observations in "Pundits & Poets." If you have ever seen her perform live, you might remember her talent for impressions that has thusly been recorded in "Channeling Marlene," as in Dietrich. Angels Running is pure Patty Larkin from "Banish Misfortune/Open Hand," an instrumental showcase, to "Helen," a story lifted from New England's coastal heritage. Every ounce of this record reflects a piece of who she is. It didn't top any charts, but being a cult hero isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Kelly McCartney