Mark Newman

Must Be a Pony

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Mark Newman's Must Be a Pony seems to be based on that hopefully optimistic joke about so much (expletive) in the room that there must be a pony in there. On a mostly blues-based album it's actually one of the poppier and mainstream tracks, perhaps subconsciously emulating John Lennon's "I Dig a Pony" from the Let It Be disc. The singer pairs up Wings/Ian Hunter percussionist Steve Holley with the great Anton Fig on the title tune, with co-producer Keith Lentin providing bass and piano. It's an intriguing essay worthy of further study. In concert Newman is a formidable presence, a great player who, like Marty Balin guitarist Kerry Kearney and John Sinclair axeman Ted Drozdowski, is dedicated to his craft. He's absolutely eloquent on "Hard in the Rain" which he co-writes and co-sings with Domingo Samudio aka Sam Samudio of Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs, whom Newman tours with on occasion. There's another co-write with Sam the Sham, a pleasant tune entitled "Wanda" featuring Mark Newman on all instruments -- guitar, bass, keyboard, and vocal, along with Anton Fig again on drums (he appears on three tracks). "Love Won't Ever Pass This Way Again" is introspective and soulful with the singer's passionate vocal front and center. Newman and Lentin weave interesting textures in the production department, a cover of the Bee Gees "New York Mining Disaster, 1941," that group's first American hit from 1967, works well as an acoustic with Gordon Lightfoot overtones. Must Be a Pony is impressive on many levels, 14 entertaining tracks that warrant further exploration.

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