The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119089   Message #2589091
Posted By: Joe Offer
15-Mar-09 - 12:31 AM
Thread Name: New CD: 'Paris' by Sharyn Dimmick
Subject: CD Review: 'Paris' by Sharyn Dimmick
Ask any folk musician in the San Francisco area about the singing of Sharyn Dimmick, and they'll tell you that Sharyn sings ballads. She knows lots of them, and she sings them very well - and she never seems to forget a verse. I can't say I'm a great fan of ballads; but through Sharyn's singing, I've at least learned to respect them (I have to give some credit to Judy Cook, too). Sharyn has a pure, high, unaffected, very credible-sounding ballad singer's voice, and she tells stories with the songs she sings.

So, when Sharyn told me she was going to record a CD, I expected it would be The Greatest Hits of Francis James Child. No so. She sings one ballad on the CD, "Barbara Allen," and she sings it well. The other songs cover a wide spectrum, from Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" to a medley of "Hallelujah" songs by Richard Thompson, Julia Ward Howe, and Leonard Cohen. Carl Anderson, Susan Frank, Sadie Damascus, and the inimitable and legendary Ed Silberman sing harmony with Sharyn on the medley.

For me, the high points of the CD were Sharyn's performances of her own "Morning Shanty" and "The Wallflower Waltz." I've heard other people sing these songs many times; but though I've known Sharyn for almost ten years, I'm not sure I've ever heard her sing them. She sings them beautifully.

I'm not sure yet whether I like the title song, "Paris." I'll have to listen to it a few more times and see if it grows on me. It may be a personal thing with me. "Paris" is a good song, but Sharyn sings of Paris as a place for lovers - I enjoyed Paris most when I was alone.

Sharyn's rendition Little Sadie, a wicked little "bad man ballad," is deliciously wicked. She rounds out the CD with a number of folk songs that are among my all-time favorites: "Vandy, Vandy"; Shelley Posen's "No More Fish, No Fishermen"; "When You and I Were Young, Maggie"; "Hard Times, Come Again No More": and closing with a beautifully harmonized performance of "Bringing in the Sheaves" with Carol Denney and Mary O'Brien. I don't know who sings harmony on "Hard Times," but it's a wonderful performance.

The arrangements and accompaniments on all these tracks are simple and unadorned, but lovely. I link this CD very much - but hey, I like Sharyn very much, too.

-Joe Offer-