Recorded in 1992 (two years before his other solo album, The Songwriter, but not released until 1995), Plays and Sings from the Songbook, Vol. 1 features Alabama-born Arthur Doyle once more performing a selection of seven pieces from his songbook, a collection of compositions (of which he claims there are over 300) written while the saxophonist was wrongfully imprisoned in France during the 1980s. "Yo Yoo>Yo Yoo" (one of the inscriptions that adorned the cover of Doyle's seminal Alabama Feeling album) and "Hey Minnie Hey Wilbur Hey Mingus" are solo tenor saxophone tracks featuring his distinctive smeared sonority (produced by singing and playing simultaneously), rendered even grittier here by the atrocious homemade cassette recording. On "Ozy Lady Dozy Lady," which sets one of his more opaque texts, Doyle accompanies himself on the family piano, as he does on "Flue Song" (the recording, though decidedly lo-fi, also captures what sounds like fingernails on the keys) before switching to recorder halfway through. After "Just Get the Funk Spot," which features the most energetic free blowing on the album, the final "Goverey" references Doyle's early R&B background (the text alludes, among other things, to the Young Rascals' "Groovin'") and brings the proceedings to a touching close.
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AllMusic Review by Dan Warburton