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"we have nothing -- we have it all!",
This review is from: Meet You There (Audio CD)
This is the Oysterband's latest greatest album, as good as RISE ABOVE from 2003 (see my review). The band is intact here, with the same line-up as on the albums going all the way back to the early Nineties at least -- John Jones, Chopper, Lee Partis, Alan Prosser and Ian Telfer (Lee has since left the band). The sound is the same folk-rock with Celtic elements that the Oysters have been playing all along, no new marketing angles or slick new production tricks.
The opening track, "Over the Water," is a great feature for John Jones's voice, a beautiful love song. Then comes the power strumming of "Here Comes the Flood," with a litany of outrages, and the chorus "Socialism's orphaned child, unimpressed, unreconciled -- some people think I'm crazy, but I'm not -- here comes the flood." One verse is taken by a Dylanesque harmonica solo, and listener participation is involuntary and exhausting, what with the stomping and bellowing!
"Walking Down the Road With You" is a sinister up-tempo number, and who or what it is that is walking down the road with you is never clear, but full of ominous implications. "Everything Must Go" is one of the Oysters' best songs ever, and a powerful statement of not just recognizing but embracing impermanence and change -- "Everything must go, it's a new day -- everything must go, there's a new way." The other song on this album that is an instant all-time classic is "Just One Life," with the paradoxical yet exhilarating chorus "Just one life, so many doors -- we have nothing, we have it all." These are lyrical and melodic gems, and if I hear Buddha and Marx in them, you might hear other echoes, but they literally inspire!
The Oysterband represents the heart and soul of an alternative vision, a vision of a world of solidarity, peace, justice and ecological sanity. They embody the continuation of such a vision in a community of workers struggling on in the face of a mad and voracious world, hell-bent in every respect. I salute them and thank them for bringing me heart, and literal encouragement at a time when I for one really need it.
The future is not written!