Mama's Hand

Lynn Morris

(ROUN 0328)
Rounder Records
One Camp Street
Cambridge, Mass, 02140

A review for The Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Barbara Douglas
(barbuk1@vantek.net)

The first thing you notice about this CD is that the cover says simply, Lynn Morris. Where's the Band?? Not to worry fans. Tom Adams, David McLaughlin and Marshall Wilborn are still here providing their wonderful talents, as always. Add the likes of Stuart Duncan and Robert Bowlin on fiddle, Chris Johnson and Dudley Connell on rhythm guitar, and the incomparable vocals of Suzanne Cox to this talented quartet and you get a masterpiece of modern bluegrass.

The first cut, "Walking the Blues", is a typical "I'm so miserable over losing you I can't stand it, but I'm going sing it happy till I start feeling that way" number that gets your toes tapping right from the start. "It Rains Everywhere I Go" also bemoans love gone wrong with Tom Adams' banjo underscoring the sadness of the lyrics. "Tell Me How To Mend a Broken Heart", a Marshall Wilburn original, is without a doubt the most traditional bluegrass song on the CD; if you close your eyes, you can easily hear Jim and Jesse or the Stanley Brothers doing this one.

No mother's child who's ever left home for greener pastures could listen to "Mama's Hand", featuring the harmony vocals of Suzanne Cox, without getting a little misty-eyed, and feeling more than a little homesick.

Just when you think the whole CD is about love lost, "No One Has To Tell Me" praises the wonderfulness of love when it works. "Wishful Thinking" has a tune so similar to "Rosewood Casket" that I missed half the lyrics the first time I listened to the song trying to figure out where I'd heard it before.

The band gives a bluegrass air to Beth Nielson Chapman's "Ain't Necessarily So" and turns it into a homespun philosophy lesson we can all learn from.

The two instrumental numbers written by Lynn, "Old Rip" and "Dancing in the Hog Trough", are wonderfully fun and highlight her banjo expertise.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable CD. If you have a friend who steadfastly says "I don't like bluegrass", have them listen to "Mama's Hand". I think they'll change their mind.

[Edited by: Paula Gregorowicz]

Copyright 1996, Three Rivers Folklore Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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