Hoyt Axton

Saturday's Child

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    4
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Devoted largely to traditional folk and blues selections, this sounds more like an undernourished demo session than a proper album. Axton sings fairly well, but not exceptionally, as he plays acoustic guitar (presumably, no credits are given) and interprets familiar tunes like the title track, "Willie Jean," "St. James Infirmary," "Make Me a Pallet," and "Hoochie Coochie Man" (the last of which he is, erroneously, given the songwriting credit for). What really sinks the set is the addled decision to use squiggly trad jazz-styled trombone on many of the tracks, which makes this, probably inadvertently, sound close to a novelty record. As a solo acoustic folk album, this could have been adequate; the addition of trombone (and nothing else) is a mismatch. Axton's own songwriting efforts are limited to a couple of tunes, and are in a pretty bluesy fettle; curiosity seekers should also note that he covers a couple of compositions by Rod McKuen.

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