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SHAWN COLVIN —A FEW SMALL REPAIRS (Sony Legacy)

http://legacyrecordings.com

http://shawncolvin.com

 

On the twentieth anniversary of Americana singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin’s Grammy Winning album, A Few Small Repairs Sony Legacy have released an extended version. It comes at the same time fellow act, Lucinda Williams recognises the 25th anniversary of her album Sweet Old World. In her case not only has she re-recorded the album, but also included four songs that failed the cut first time round, and release the album under the guise of This Sweet Old World.

 

Colvin’s album came after her career changing, Grammy Contemporary Folk Album Winner Steady On (1989) and the one that arguably turned a great many onto her music was Fat City (1992), me included. Followed by what at the time was a big surprise, an album of covers Cover Girl (1994), and then we had A Few Small Repairs.

 

On A Few Small Repairs Colvin, as always offers a great deal of honesty as she speaks of her own trails and tribulations (her personal life gave her a great deal of material) and one or two shrewd observations. With her friend John Leventhal once again the producer, (he did Steady On) the scene was set for the gutsy lady to share some of her first hand experiences. Colvin and Leventhal to date have worked as collaborators some 35 years, this alone underlines just how close they are musically.  

 

Shawn Colvin’s depth of feeling, her ability to extract all the nuances and lay her emotions out for people to see them; touch her soul without it all becoming too heavy is a rare ability. She rarely overburdens the listener with her troubles as she supports her tales with clever, often hooky melodies. That lend the listener to loosen their shoulders, and on occasions tap out the tune either with fingers or, and foot as the plucky, never say-die singer-songwriter reveals all. It is worth noting the players on the record; for apart from Leventhal, who is a priceless guitarist  (bass, acoustic guitar, pedal steel, organ, keyboards, percussion and string arrangement on “If I Were Brave”), Shawn Pelton; drums, percussion, Michael Rhodes (bass) to go with Colvin’s acoustic guitar, and on “If I Were Brave” some beautiful sensitive piano! Colvin is found in wistful fashion, and leaning almost towards stage music (it would make a wonderful backdrop for a play).  

 

Ever changing, evolving and pressing onwards Colvin in the space of three songs running concurrent you have “I Want It Back” and the reflective on when times were good in the relationship “If I Were Brave” and “Wichita Skyline” as she feels disconnected from her emotions. At the time of the original record she was after all going through her divorce, on taking this into consideration the record easily have been dark. But Colvin in her new liner notes writes; “A Few Small Repairs captures everything I’ve ever wanted to do and be as an artist and a songwriter. And, maybe most of all, it was just plain fun.”

 

Apart from the 12-track original, Colvin has added not only six live recordings of songs “Sunny Came Home”, “Trouble, Get Out Of This House”, “The Facts About Jimmy”, “You And The Mona Lisa” and “If I Were Brave” plus “Ricochet In Time” that was originally released on the CD single “Sunny Came Home” (and recorded at the Grand Ole Opry). Other bonus factors include new liner notes from both Colvin and Leventhal, and rare photos too.  

 

While the album in the main flows, well enough a couple of songs tend to drag but this is but a minor critique. For the listener is handed a surfeit of wonderful cuts in “Sunny Come Home” and the more dramatic, pleading even “I Want It Back” and arm flailing “Get Out Of This House” and with tempered restraint, “Wichita Skyline”. Before the sombre “84,000 Different Delusions” and a less than thrilling “Suicide Alley” before the ship is righted on the final track, jaunty ode “Nothing On Me”.      

 

                                                            Maurice Hope 

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1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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