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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One from the very top drawer
I bought this the week it came out in 1994, and probably haven't gone a month since without playing it. It's one of those rare albums that's far more than just a collection of songs, but develops into a cogent, coherent statement that will speak to anyone who's ever regretted lacking the confidence to try something new in life or just to trust that they really are loved...
Published on 19 July 2000

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Too country sounding for me
Published 4 months ago by Scotland


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One from the very top drawer, 19 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
I bought this the week it came out in 1994, and probably haven't gone a month since without playing it. It's one of those rare albums that's far more than just a collection of songs, but develops into a cogent, coherent statement that will speak to anyone who's ever regretted lacking the confidence to try something new in life or just to trust that they really are loved and valued. This is MCC at the very top of her game, and for all her tendency to dwell on the troublesome side of life and relationships that go wrong, her message is a warm, optimistic and deeply humane one. "Life is tough," she seems to say, "but the satisfaction is worth the struggle."

In getting this message across, it helps that she has some cracking songs to hand, played by a tight and wonderfully sympathetic band, and delivered with diction so sharp you won't need the singalong word sheet. She can be wistful (as in The End of My Pirate Days), angry (The Last Word) and playful (Shut Up and Kiss Me) but always musical and involving. And if that's not enough, in John Doe No.24 she decides that a man no-one knows anything about deserves a story, so she invents one for him - and then gets Branford Marsalis, no less, to garland it with not one but two beautiful solos. Breathtaking in its sheer human generosity.

I could go on and on, but all you really need to know is that if you don't mind listening with brain engaged, this record will move you, and go on moving you for years. It still works on me.

UPDATED NOV 2013: yes, nearly 20 years on, I still love it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary's masterwork!, 13 Nov 2002
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
This is a genre of music that I know very little about, I find this kinda of stuff in the country section of record stores but to my mind it's just great music regardless of genre.
We do like some much to put things and art in little boxes!!
I bought this after hearing "Shut up and kiss me" on a sampler of music attached to a magazine (thank you Q).
My first hearing of this piece work did not fall short of the promise of that track.

The piano at the start is some of the most haunting that I have heard, touchs your heart and your soul all in one beautiful moment, it does to me everytime I hear it and I have played this album alot.

From the start to the finish we are treated the highest standard of song writing and musicianship that is a joy.
The album closes the way it started with that wonderful piano playing....
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning CD - One of my favorites, 9 Nov 2002
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
This is one of those CDs that you will play again and again for years to come. I've had it since it was released and it's one of my absolute favorites. Her voice is so expressive and touching and the lyrics are great too. She sings her songs with a tremendous captivating sincerity. The music is excellent too. You will be happy that you bought this album and Come On Come On her previous album. Don't worry if you're not into country music, this isn't countrified at all so if you like good music give this a chance. If you like this then try Norah Jones's CD and vice-verse.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........................., 7 Feb 2004
By 
John Williams (Apeldoorn, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
I thought about giving this album only four stars purely on the basis that, in my opinion, it isn't quite as good as the last couple of offerings from Beth Nielsen Chapman (which you really should listen to as well), but that would have been churlish, wouldn't it. This album is good. I can't say that I'm in love with every track; I find the drumming on some of them a bit harsh and repetetive, and prefer the quieter ones. But some of these are up there with the greats; well written, well produced, and performed with clarity and feeling. It's hard to pick a favourite. The opening of the album is perfect, and so is the title track, but 'John Doe No 24' or 'Jubilee' could also move one to tears. How such a good album can be on offer at such a budget price is one of life's mysteries. And that piano at the end; well................!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Amazing!!!!!!!, 22 Sep 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
All I can say is that, after reading a review of this album in the 'The Times' (around 7/8 years ago) which declared it to be "near perfect", I decided to give it a try (i.e. buy it!) even though I had never even heard of Mary Chapin Carpenter! I was not disappointed. On the contrary; it is quite the most beautiful album I have ever listened to; intensley lyrical and really quite profound in places! In all these these years I have never tired of listening to this CD. What more can I say..!!!!!!!!!!! Buy it and enjoy.........otherwise you will never know what you have missed!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A musical and emotional thriller, 3 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
If you don't know Mary-Chapin Carpenter's work, this is a wonderful place to start. Once you've heard it, the chances are that it won't be long before you've bought the rest of them. In my view, there's no other singer around that can touch you so deeply and so personally. Who else can compare with the depth and expressiveness of her lyrics? Her voice seems like a new instrument altogether - it's incomparable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My All Time Favourite, 8 Nov 2014
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
I bought this album at Virgin Records shortly after it came out in 1994. I didn't know anything about Mary Chapin Carpenter but it had won some award and I liked the cover, so I thought I'd give it a go. When I got home I was horrified to find that it was described as country music, the only genre that I had never liked! Still, I thought I'd give it a play anyway. There was something there that I couldn't put my finger on, so I played it again...and again...and again. After five or six plays I realised it was something special. Now, hundreds of plays later it is my favourite album (out of several hundred in my CD collection). Why? Perhaps it is the strength of the songs, the consistently beautiful arrangements, the feeling of warmth and humanity that pervades the whole album or a combination of all of these. Maybe it is an album that just fits my psyche perfectly. Whatever it is, I'm really grateful that I made the purchase. It would be churlish to pick out individual songs in an album that fits together so perfectly as a whole, but "The End of my Pirate Days" is simply the saddest yet most beautiful song I've ever heard: it always brings a tear to the eye. It is worth saying that whilst there is a country influence, particularly noticeable in her vocals, this album crosses several genres with ease.

The strange thing is that I've bought the album as a gift for friends and family, yet they obviously got far less out of it than I did. Perhaps I'm one of a lucky subset of people that can be so uplifted by it or maybe they didn't play it often enough: it's definitely a "slow grower". The other strange thing is that I have of course explored the back catalogue of her work, but have never found anything to match this album, despite trying really hard. If you've read this far all I can say is please listen to the songs on this album: it's a timeless work of art of the very highest quality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a album that will never go away in your mind, 4 Nov 1999
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
This is one of these album that you can call a classic. With the song 'John Doe No 24' Mary takes what looks like some mans sad existance and turns it into a life full of thoughtfull pictures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my favourites, 3 Jan 2010
By 
E. J. L. Bushell "ejlb" (wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
i can only echo what all the other reviews here have said,one of my all time fave albums a perfect collection of songs ,something she will never better.with varied taste in music (slayer to sarah mclachlan!!!) an album has got to be something pretty special to become as important to me as this has become ,easily in my top ten i'm going to give it a listen now before heading for bed ,it eases all the stresses of the day out of me and makes me feel better about life in all its various strands!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars without a shadow of a doubt, 1 Oct 2003
This review is from: Stones In The Road (Audio CD)
This album sounded good on the first hearing (like "I think I'll just play that again") and it has kept its appeal.
Beneath that superficial easy listening sound, it's suprisingly strong stuff: elegant, spare lyrics and singing that can evoke deep feelings of nostalgia, sadness, hope, or pity in the space of a few words.
Favourite track: the last word is excellent ... or maybe the end of my pirate days. or the title track, stones in the road - or john doe #24, or... to be honest there isn't a weak track, and there's barely a weak moment.
and "Come On Come On" is also extremely good...
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