Friday, June 25, 2010

Marvin: The Mandolin Man (1992)

(One of my many reviews that went unpublished in Rock & Roll Disc when the magazine ceased publication in 1992 ... )

The Mandolin Man
Restless 7 72582-2
Total disc time: 44:37 (AVD)

Merit: ***½
Sound: ***½

The V in the SPARS code stands for "vinyl," which to Marvin Etzioni (ex-Lone Justice) sounds better than the coated, laser-read plastic of CDs. So what we're really hearing here is a digitally mastered recording of the playing of an LP. And you know what? There's no difference. So these eleven brooding folk songs either stand or fall on their own. When Marvin captures the contrition and the hope that are his main concern, he rivals Leonard Cohen, and both God and man come out looking good. But when he slows down a great pop ballad like "Can't Cry Hard Enough" until it sounds like a dirge and then pitches it out of his range, only T Bone Burnett (whom Marvin sings exactly like) comes out looking good because at least he'd know enough to rock it up a little.

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