Doctor River (LP)

Bruce Piephoff

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Doctor River (LP) Review

by Eugene Chadbourne

While the albums released in the late '80s by this Greensboro, NC, singer/songwriter fall quite close to the Dylan imitator camp in sound and style, individual song nuggets stand out, as well as the spirited playing with which they are delivered. Doctor River was the second of these productions, self-pressed on vinyl by the artist in 1989 a year after the release of the somewhat stronger Razor's Edge. It is hard to knock an album that begins with its narrator hanging out in the lovely Vondelpark in Amsterdam, or one in which the singer talks about his "Don Quixote Side" with such good humor, and respects his audience enough to assume they will understand what he is talking about. This artist's skill with portraits of unique individuals cannot be said to have developed in the years after this recording was made, as there were already examples of this talent on his debut side from 1988. Yet this time out he seems to downplay these subjects, dwelling more in a sort of swirling present in which various thought patterns are rambled through and a great deal of booze is consumed. Indeed, if one drank a glass of everything that is mentioned on the first side of this album, it would be difficult to get up and flip it over. A good thing that compact discs were invented, then, and this album has been combined with Razor's Edge and reissued on one under the title of Doctor River.

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