Marge Calhoun

Twisted Tales of Passion and Pain

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This very intriguing disc is powered by the elastic voice of Marge Calhoun. At times she has the power to soar and take off and carry you to far distant places, at other times she plunges you down deep into yourself, and at other times she carries you into the heart of her heart. Her singing always has that ring of an honest tale. Calhoun wrote or co-wrote 12 of the 14 well-crafted tales that have the tone of a life lived with pain, but it is a pain that is accepted as being a natural part of living. On one of the two songs she didn't write, "Love Song," written in 1969 by Lesley Duncan, she has a type of sound very much like Marianne Faithfull, as haunting as that old memory of a past love that won't fade from the inner recesses of the mind. The other song she didn't write is the instrumental that ends the disc; her daughter Kendra Calhoun (who also plays keyboards on this cut) wrote "Day Break." On this disc, which was very ably produced by Gary Crockett and Jonathan Yudkin, there is a wonderful clarity of sound; it is well paced with no jarring changes, but there are many changes of feel and mood to always keep it interesting. The cast of backing musicians is exemplary and there is some fine work that comes to the forefront. The tenor sax work of Ron Holloway is an absolute standout, and his horn is one of the dominant instruments steering the disc. Jonathan Yudkin's work on mandolin, violin, and viola highlights the mood changes created by Calhoun's voice. An outstanding cut that highlights this disc is "Longest Night of the Year." This disc is the proof that there is some very outstanding music being produced by the smaller independent labels.

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