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4.6 out of 5 stars28
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 2 August 2005
This is an exciting start, Patty Griffin's first album, recorded on a shoestring as a demotape, the arrangements no more complex than a guitar and voice. What emerges is one of the outstanding acoustic recordings of the 1990's - simple, poetic lyricism being given a true voice and confirming that quality writing will stand out regardless of amplification and studio manipulation. Griffin has a voice which reaches right into your heart.
Born in Maine, she began performing in the Boston area, absorbing her folk roots and impressing her own stamp upon her lyrics. Hers is no overnight success - Patty Griffin grafted at her trade, learning it from the grassroots up. It shows in her guitar work, her voice, and the rich quality of her writing.
Patty Griffin does not seem to have had a happy time in the recording studio - she has changed labels and seen material frozen. This, however, is an outstanding debut, all the more poignant and effective for its lack of production and raw exposure of her talent. Her work deserves to be listened to - for anyone interested in writing songs, or in writing poetry, Patty Griffin is a yardstick against which to measure your ability to capture emotion or encapsulate biography.
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on 10 August 2000
Patty Griffin bares it all on this disc. Each song is like a story, raw and heartfelt; just a girl and her guitar. No fanfare, no hooplah-- just pure acoustic guitar and an edgy, hardened voice.
"Mad Mission" and "Let Him Fly" (recently covered by the Dixie Chicks on FLY) are the two best tracks on the record. One could compare her to a folkier Beth Orton with a bit of Bonnie Raitt and Liz Phair added for attitude.
I would suggest this CD to anyone who likes Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, or even the Indigo Girls.
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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2009
I bought this after hearing one track by the artist on a sampler,(Bob Harris' americana) and of course reading the stunning reviews on Amazon. They are entirely justified, except the inexplicable exception. We had kids in the early 90s which is the only explanation I have for missing out at the time. It really is one of the strongest albums of its type-more alt. country than folk. Better than even Rickie-Lee Jones' first album, on a par with Jonie Mitchell's Blue, it has a harder edge than either. Lucinda Williams fans will love it too. Thanks to all below-even the dissenter for prompting this endorsement. Will certainly go for more.
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on 8 February 2007
I bought this album after following a link on Shawn Colvins web site and it remains the very best in its genre, rivalled only by Shawn Colvins "live 88". I was fortunate enough to see Patty live in Bristol a few days before she appeared at Glastonbury two years ago. She was quite simply outstanding and genuinely better 'live' than on record. Living with ghosts reveals something of that performance and is a totally stripped down masterpiece that I cannot recommend highly enough. There are no weak songs on the album and it is addictive listening, one audition and you're hooked.
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on 1 January 2008
The songs are original emotional and powerful. Its not pretty or light, but the guitar and especially singing are stunning. The recording quality is magnificent. This is the best HiFi demonstration CD I own - the stereo image is rock solid and fills your minds eye when listened to through good speakers in the dark. In certain darker moods, it is my favourite music album.
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on 19 January 2015
I know that I run the risk of being trolled by this review, but I can't help what I think. First, there are some beautiful songs on this album. The problem is that Patty Griffin can't sing them. She fails to hit the high notes, resorting to shouting, gratingly so on the third track. On the final track, which again is a beautiful song, her voice all but disappears on the low notes. Beautiful songs, badly performed, I'm afraid. Rare for me to discard a CD, but this one is going to the local charity shop.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 August 2013
There is no substitute for raw talent and inspiration. Rather like the 'Texas Campfire Tapes' by Michelle Shocked,'Living With Ghosts' catches Patty Griffin in her raw essence.Just an acoustic guitar, a voice a microphone and some carefully crafted songs make for an album that is honest,direct and wholly absorbing.Patty Griffin from her songs might sound like a victim. Anything but. She's tough and despite it all, she's going to keep going. No matter what.She seems incapable of sentimentality or deception.Her songs have the ring of truth about them and so sometimes as on 'You Never Get What you Want' and 'Sweet Lorraine', the lyrics boarder on the uncomfortable.

What puts Patty apart from many other singers who plough the folk furrow is that her voice is so distinctive. Capable of going from a quavering plaintive waif -like tones to suddenly ascending skyward, she constantly surprises with how much emotion she can pack into a note.As important,is the fact that Patty can pen melodies and lyrics that stick in the mind. The intro track is a mini- marvel of using of how to use a image to express a very deep personal truth.

'Living With Ghosts' is a beautiful disc. The production,song craft, playing and performance deserve the highest praise. Recommended.
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on 25 August 2000
I bought this CD after loving "Flaming Red" and was nervous because it's "only" acoustic guitar and vocal demos - but it is absolutely wonderful - "Time will do the talking" is an amazing mixture of hooky melody and unsingable singing, "Poor mans house" builds to the final unresolved guitar chords, suggesting the people in the song with nowhere to go - buy this CD! (And also "Flaming Red") and maybe Patty will come and play the Borderline!
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on 23 September 2013
my favourite female singer she needs some airplay in the uk this album is great good song like not alone featured on ncis and others like moses and sweet lorraine shes from the u s she makes me wish i was american try some of her other albums like downtown church,impossible dreams my personal favourite children running through and her latest offering the great album american kid featuring robert plant from led zeppelin give her a listen
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on 29 December 2011
I recently wrote a review for a Julie Millers CD stating that in my opinion [which isn't worth a lot] that it is one of the best CD's ever, that got me thinking about other great CD's and this is one of them.
I find it hard to believe that one review only gave it one star, I can only assume that that reviewer missed the point.
That reviewer also stated that he gave the CD away to a jumble sale, someone got a great bargain.
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