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Profile for Richard J. Bryant > Reviews

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Content by Richard J. Bryant
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Reviews Written by
Richard J. Bryant "Rick Bryant" (Exeter, UK)

Page: 1
Honey Moon
Honey Moon
Price: £10.60

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Slightly Askew but True View, 5 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Honey Moon (Audio CD)
Brett and Rennie Sparks are a couple of genius song writers; lately out of Albuquergue by way of Texas, New York and Chicago. Unfortunately the obvious name 'Sparks' was already taken by the 80's electro-pop duo so they became the Handsome Family. It's not quite accurate to say that they are under rated, because just about everyone who comes across them rates them very highly, just criminally overlooked. I won't be around in 100 years, but I bet their songs will be. I don't have any Grandchildren yet but when I do, I'm going to tell them to ask their kids to check it out for me. Think of that curio from your maiden aunt that you've always liked but never-the-less is gathering a bit of dust on that top shelf and then you take it down to get evaluated at Antiques Roadshow and you discover it is a Rodin maquette. You know the feeling. That's the Handsome Family. Enter their world; a bit different but a focused, colourful lens to view ours. Their new disc continues the tradition they have established of building a wonderful new world - story by story, song by song. They built this city on American Gothic Alt-Country. And they are very funny, too.

The Crying Light
The Crying Light
Price: £11.79

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He ups his game., 31 May 2009
This review is from: The Crying Light (Audio CD)
If you were of a critical mind, there might be scope to say that this disc is a little 'samey' without, for example, a rocky number like 'Fistful of Love' from his previous CD, but I think this one is even better than I Am a Bird Now, and I love I Am a Bird Now. One exquisite song after another, buy it now, enjoy it forever.

American V: A Hundred Highways
American V: A Hundred Highways
Price: £8.47

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was worth the wait. Good bye to an American Hero., 3 July 2006
In the years since his death Johnny Cash's stature has, in anything, grown even greater. In many ways the ultimate interpreter of the American Country and Western songbook, the some warts and all movie 'Walk the Line', and an posthumous assessment of his achievement and his deep spiritual purity and decency have made his remarkable voice resound even greater with Biblical strength.

This album was made when Johnny was sick and near death, and, so, the familiar voice that seemed to come from deep down an echoing well was no longer in his arsenal but he turns this frailty to a strength with his courage in admitting to his own mortality that in every song recalls the honesty of his pained singing of `Hurt'. But his humour was undiminished as with his last song 'Like the 309'. And his skill in breaking your heart and bringing a tear to your eye by his interpretation of a `corny' popular standard such as Rod McKuen's `Love's Been Good to Me' is undiminished.

His deep Christian faith and its belief in the afterlife brings almost a joyous expectation to `passing over' that he celebrates in songs such as `On the Evening Train,' a powerful Hank Williams song I wasn't familiar with about a man saying goodbye to his dead wife, his own composition `I Came To Believe' and the closing track `I'm Free From the Chain Gang Now'.

In the nearly three years since Johnny Cash's death, it had begun to seem as though his producer and late career saviour Rick Rubin was holding onto the tapes of his final sessions for far too long. Was it that the tracks were so poor that he was handing onto them to protect Johnny's legacy? Was he constantly messing with added musicians and layers of sound so that it would turn into a overdressed confection like Jeff Lynn's self indulgence in his over egged production of George Harrison's last album `Brainwashed?'

There is now no longer any need to worry that the quality of these tracks was not of the highest standard or that Rick Rubin was trying to impose his ego between Johnny Cash's great, brave, unique achievement and his people. Mr Rubin has been a true friend in his fidelity to Johnny Cash greatness. He may have taken a long time to get this album out - I had nursed a suspicion that as long as Johnny still had another new CD coming out he really wasn't gone and that perhaps Mr Rubin held onto the tracks for such a time because their release would be final. But what he had been doing was to get every song just right and to do Johnny proud - his strength and courage shown bright until the end.

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