Marjorie Thompson

Never Let Me Down

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AllMusic Review by

Marjorie Thompson has a no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach on Never Let Me Down, a style that lacks pretension by promising "what you see is what you get." The album gets a strong start with "Poster Child for the Blues," a funny take on a familiar genre. The song is greatly bolstered by Vincent Pasternak's viola (which most will mistake for a fiddle), reminding one of the old guitar-fiddle combos of the 1920s. The title track is pure traditional country and manages -- as Jimmie Rodgers and other early country practitioners did -- to keep its connection to the blues. The song is graced with lovely pedal steel work by none other than Buddy Cage. Thompson's vocals triumph more on sincerity than versatility, and it's easy to gain the impression that she's the best interpreter of her material. The arrangements vary from song to song, but they retain a similar roots feel. Spare combinations of mandolin, pedal steel, guitar, viola, and piano offer a nice range of set-ups that complement both the songs and Thompson's vocals. Another winning quality of Never Let Me Down is Thompson's predilection for writing songs with interesting chord changes, even when writing within a genre like the blues. She likewise has an affection for offbeat lyrics, as on "Hairdo Rag." Never Let Me Down is a nice, low-key effort by a talented writer.

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