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New and noteworthy

MUSIC | Reviews of four albums


New and noteworthy
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Girl Friends

Dion

What sets Dion DiMucci’s third straight duets disc for Joe Bonamassa’s blues label apart from the previous two? One, it has an all-female guest list. Two, it spotlights deserving but lesser-known talent (the violinist Randi Fishenfeld, the vocalist Valerie Tyson) along with the big names. Otherwise, the well-oiled machine that DiMucci, his producer Wayne Hood, and his co-lyricist Mike Aquilina have become rolls on, through original blues, soul, R&B, and country. The one that’s none of the above quotes 1 John 4:4.


Monk of Salzburg: Nicodemus Passion—A Medieval Adaptatio

Duo Enßle-Lamprecht

The Monk of Salzburg was an anonymous 14th-century German composer. The Gospel of Nicodemus is a 1,500-year-old apocryphal text distinguished in part by its elaboration of Christ’s descent into Hades. Anne-Suse Enßle and Philipp Lamprecht are recorder and percussion virtuosos who specialize in what the multilingual booklet calls the “intersection between monophony and polyphony” circa the late Middle Ages. Lamprecht sings too. Combine the foregoing and you have a Passion tailor-made for the segment of the psychedelic-folk set that knows a really good thing when it hears it.


The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

Cleek Schrey & Weston Olencki

This album takes its name and material from William Walker’s 19th-century shape-note hymnal (and “tune” book). Schrey and Olencki, using primarily pump organs and harmoniums, extend that hymnal’s “inharmonic resonances” and “internal combinatorial tones” (so say the Bandcamp notes) into a musical twilight zone. Five of the six selections range from just under two minutes to just over four and gesture obliquely but obligingly to their melodies. The two that combine for half an hour settle into drones that pressure the music into giving up secrets no one ever suspected it had.


James Toth Presents … Imaginational Anthem Vol. XIII Songs of Bruce Cockburn

Various artists

At just nine songs (Eli Winter’s one-minute, 54-second guitar instrumental “Foxglove” among them), this tribute aims for neither width nor depth. Instead, it seeks to whet the appetite. And unlike 1991’s Kick at the Darkness: Songs of Bruce Cockburn, it does so without recourse to Cockburn’s political songs, Christian songs (unless “All the Diamonds” counts), or hits. It’s this willingness to leave loose ends untied that gives the disc its life and sense of discovery.


Hoosier Hot Shots

Hoosier Hot Shots Handout

Encore

Every so often, a record label, espying expired copyrights, springs a new compilation of those zany music makers the Hoosier Hot Shots on an unsuspecting world. The latest is Acrobat Music’s Breezin’ Along: The Singles Collection 1935-46, which gathers five more performances than Circle Records’ 2021 46-cut World Broadcasting System (only duplicating four) and in so doing reinforces Orwell’s dictum that “the obvious, the silly and the true had got to be defended.”

Among the obvious: “Who’s Sorry Now” and “Beer Barrel Polka.” Among the true: “The Coats and the Pants Do All the Work.” With Hezzie Trietsch’s slide whistle and bicycle horns and songs such as “From the Indies to the Andes in His Undies” and “I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones,” silliness was the Hot Shots’ stock-in-trade. “Are You Having Any Fun?” (in which guest crooner Skip Farrell asks “What good is what you’ve got / if you’re not having any fun?”) is silly and true at the same time. —A.O.


Arsenio Orteza

Arsenio is a music reviewer for WORLD Magazine and one of its original contributors from 1986.

@ArsenioOrteza

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