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June 18, 2024

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The Great Tomato Singer/Songwriter Collection (Tomato Records)

By: Mark A. Lawrence the IV

Tomato Records has compiled a CD rich with amazing authors of the song. From Townes Van Zandt's "Our Mother the Mountain" to Hank Williams' "Jambalaya," this collection includes not only well known artists but some more obscure, though just as talented, as well as representing a wide variety of musical flavors from the Blues, Country, even rich folk selections. I could have survived without Amanda Tree's "Treasure Island" which was too ethereal and unstructured. All and all though the songs truly represents some of the best songwriters around from a classic Leadbelly recording of "Midnight Special" to Johnny Cash's " I Walk the Line." A pleasant discovery was Chris Smither and his energetic "Love You Like A Man" with its danceable rhythm and playfully blunt lyrics. The way the new recordings mix well with the older tracks by Jimmie Rodgers, Leadbelly, and Hank Williams giving this album a vivid texture. Adding to the tactile sense are songs like the funky blues of "Already There" with a pinch of reggae that produces an end product that sounds a lot like early Stevie Wonder. Except for one or two weak songs this is a great album and it's one that's sure to grow on you. Rating: B-
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