Brian Gladstone has released a 'phine', new folk/blues CD entitled Psychedelic Pholk Psongs. The very quirkiness of the title suggests something weird and different. This CD isn't the average rehash, culled from other previous well-known folk balladeers. All the songs on this CD, are Gladstone originals -- that makes them unique to Gladstone, and to his unusual style. Hours of peaceful enchantment can be derived from listening to these well crafted creations. The delightful emotions that the mostly happy, upbeat songs evoke, can create and retain a pleasant atmosphere in any room. The talented musicians who participate on this 'psuperb' endeavor, are a 'who's who' of the local folk/blues/jazz scene in Toronto. Guitarist Tony Quarrington, is a long-time friend and guitar mate of Gladstone's. Their finger pickin' 'magic' when performing together, is almost psychic in the way they complement and anticipate each other's musical inclinations. Maureen Brown's impeccable percussion inventiveness, helps ensure this CDs a success. Wolf Hassel's superb bass technique adds essential bottom end; while Brian's sister, Bonnie Gladstone's exhuisite vocal harmonies add charm.
One of my favorite tunes is "Mega City Mel". It imaginatively pokes good-natured fun at Toronto's illustrious Mayor, Mel Lastman. Lastman's charisma and well-documented escapades, reminds me of another charismatic and flamboyant mayor, George M. Cohen. Cohen's popular lifestyle in the '30s while Mayor of New York City; was made famous in a '40s movie called "Yankee Doodle Dandy". (Golden age actor, James Cagney portrayed the NYC politician in that classic flick.) "I Like Me" is harmless and upbeat, by nature of its positive message in the lyrics. The good vibes it creates, can help someone feel good about themselves, even on the most difficult days.
"Black Mountain Rag" is a superb finger pickin' session, featuring guitar pickin' and finger pickin' virtuosity from Brian; as well as from Tony Quarrington, who adds his own brand of guitar playing ingenuity to this modern bluegrass masterpiece. "Jamie Lynn" is a romantic, folky ballad, filled with sentimental longings. "The Highway Man", is an imaginative tune that's filled with atmosphere, from beginning to end. It starts with the sound of wind whistling in at the door of an inn; conjuring up The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, as well as the classic Treasure Island. "San Francisco Bay Blues" conjures up happy memories of the popular annual folk/blues festival; with images of John Sebastian at Woodstock in '69, thrown in for good measure.
"Somebody Stole My Gal", has a 'Roaring 20s' feel to it. It employs wise use of kazoo and banjo pickin'; giving it a very 'rah-rah', '23 ski-doo' fun times feel to it. One can almost envision '20s couples dancing the Charleston and Black Bottom, complete with 'flappers'! "Norm's Living Room" brings to a close, this delightful and pleasant-to-listen-to CD. "Norm's .. " is a friendly sing-a-long, folky tribute to Brian's long time friend, Norm Hacking. (Hacking's a well-respected guitarist/composer on the Toronto folk scene. He's one of its originators!) All the musicians join in on the fun on "Norm's … ", as any owners of this 'phine', 'pholky' CD can do in their own 'phunky' living rooms.
Artist: Brian Gladstone
Title: Psychedelic Pholk Psongs
Label: Independent # BTTD002
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