Frank Christian

Mister So and So

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    9
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Having taken 13 years between the releases of his first and second albums, Frank Christian was back after only a year with his third. One reason for the speed seems to be that he chose to make an album more like his live performances, mixing in cover songs along with his own originals. Those songs gave some insight into the breadth of the artist, ranging from the kinds of folk-blues songs (Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues," Mance Lipscomb's "Sugar Babe") and singer-songwriter songs (Gordon Lightfoot's "Did She Mention My Name," Tom Rush's "No Regrets") you might have expected to more unusual fare you might not have, such as Jacques Brel's "Port Of Amsterdam" and the 1928 Walter Donaldson-Gus Kahn comic song "Makin' Whoopee." What brought all of this material, along with Christian's six originals, together was both the tasteful assurance with which they were presented and the rich beauty of Christian's acoustic guitar playing. Christian is steeped in the kind of delicate fingerpicking and warm tone of Mississippi John Hurt, a style that contains its own chuckle, especially when accompanied by the kind of wry observations found in the lyrics of the songs Christian both wrote and chose for this album. As on his earlier albums, his guitar playing is so accomplished that it tends to obscure the subtler pleasures of his songwriting, at least on the first few listens. After that, one is likely to appreciate him as a singer, songwriter, and interpreter just as much, if not more.

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