The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #120805 Message #2661704
Posted By: SaltyWalt
21-Jun-09 - 05:36 PM
Thread Name: Riggy Rackin CD: Somewhere in Between
Subject: RE: Riggy Rackin CD: Somewhere in Between
Well, I've been trying to wait and let my elders weigh in on this CD, but I can't waits no more!
I've been listening to Riggy for years, enjoying his other recordings in the way we folkies often do: listening to specific songs when the mood hits, or when there's research to be done. This CD's different.
It pulls off something quite difficult. It walks the edge of "overproduction" without ever falling into the Abyss. It is a skill rarely found. Riggy has been performing for decades, and his experience shows in this accomplishment. I could comment on each song in turn, but it would begin to repeat the words "I'm not doing this justice" as I recognize again and again that to describe the subtle theatrics woven throughout would make them sound garish. They are not.
I'm very concious of the lure of a production value that make your recording sound so "professional" that it ceases to be folk music. We all want our recordings to sound good, to give fans good value for supporting us - not to offer them something that sounds like it was recorded in a basement on a shoebox recorder. I've heard a number of people miss the mark: Tracks too clean, reverb, unnecessary choruses or harmonies, pianos on sea chanteys, and other ways that dehumanize these tunes. Riggy gives a high quality product, clearly produced, that never sounds like it's from the "Folk / Sountrack" bargain bin.
I hear the echoes of ancient halls, medieval fanfare, the camaraderie of English fields and lonesome western trails, broken by gypsies dancing at a Jewish wedding, shipboard songs and a few more recent offerings. It asks you to sing along while demanding that you listen.
It shows Riggy's desire to give us different versions of songs, sometimes just by making familiar ones new again. For example; In the "Staines Morris" and "Younger Everday" there are a few (slight)theatrical flourishes that take one's mind not so much to a renaissance faire, as to that idealized place of pagentry that that probably first drew most of us to this music anyway. Irish songs so delightfully understated where most performers would camp them up.
A Canter's voice with a firmness of back up that reminds me of the best (and least dated) songs of the 60's Folk Rock.
Don't let the track titles fool you though, a few of the ones that I didn't recognize by title are actually renamed favorites.
This CD is a good representation of Riggy's repitoire, its flavors and imagination, as I've heard it over a few years.