The Pink One
Cornbelt Records, 2003
Lou & Peter Berryman
by Michael Devlin
For those already familiar with the work of these Wisconsin based singer-songwriters, please skip ahead to the next paragraph. For those of you who are not, Peter and Lou Berryman are the best (or only) formerly married, guitar and accordion duo who remember the '60s on the planet. Peter plays pleasantly on guitar and sings in a wryly half-spoken manner. Lou sings in the soprano range while her accordion supplies the bulk of the musical backing. For some, this may be the description of prototypical folk music hell. Well, you can stop easing away from Peter and Lou, because they are comic geniuses and consummate songwriters and performers. They specialize in lampooning the human condition with an amazingly refined aim for such a large target. They score major laughs so often that you have to play their songs over and over to discover what you laughed through. For all the sharpness of their wit, the songs are good-natured, which may explain why they wear so well on repeated listenings.
This is the Berrymans' fourteenth recording, and fans should know that The Pink One must be considered one of their best. This album is so consistently appealing from beginning to end that it is hard to pick out just a few songs to give you a taste of their work. Mr. and Mrs. Noah features the biblical couple trading verses about which animals to bring on the ark. The devil is in the animals that were left behind. Mrs. Noah sings,
Imagine that you are driving in Wisconsin, starting in a rural area and proceeding through K-Mart infested suburbs to discount mall murdered down-towns and back out to the farms. If you named the things that went by, you would have Bird Bird Bird.
"Let Me Know" lists deliriously funny personal quirks (that one suspects are somewhat first-person confessional) and ties them together with the chorus
Other songs deal with conditional atheism, America's safety net (the right to live in your car), Metropolitan Scruples, Stephen Hawking's universe and the power company. Ralph to Rose finds true equality through a dog's eyes, because "Everybody's Ralph to Rose." There is also a song about a song that causes insomnia that predictably lodges in your head for days.
I've played this album for children and in-laws. I certify it as a foolproof hit for people of all musical tastes or lacks thereof.
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