Old Joe Clarks


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November is a laid-back, dreamy album which develops with its own identity before hints of the Traveling Wilburys begin to take form and prior to singer/central figure Mike Coykendall putting his emphasis on Bob Dylan fronting the Band. That kicks in on track five, "The Bright Side," which, like the very Byrds-ish "Wasted Star" before it, also brings the tempo up a pace by jolting the listener out of the temporary dream state the tight band creates. At this point, Coykendall actually sounds like Tom Petty emulating Dylan on very strong material, which takes some time to get used to. It's one of those discs which creeps up on you, taking you by surprise after giving it a chance to spin a couple or three times. The opening track, "Outward & Beyond," sets the stage for the pretty pop with country overtones. It is music that works better when it is less derivative, as on the short, but very sweet, two minutes and 30 seconds of "Following Rainbows." That song re-finds the strength of earlier numbers -- "...what it would be like to be without rainbows" -- a really terrific concept of how the inspired chase either a musical dream or a love interest or both, and how time gets tighter as the years move by during the process. A real nugget. "Haven't Got Forever" follows and seems to back up that concept. "Only So Long" is equally inspired -- picture Pink Floyd going folk-rock unplugged. The album concludes with a solo acoustic piece from Mike Coykendall, which the liners credit "Recorded at FM radio Charlie Maxton." November is a really novel experience, methodical and ambient guitar that fills in around the singer's interesting thoughts.

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