Search - Mollie O'Brien :: Big Red Sun

Big Red Sun
Mollie O'Brien
Big Red Sun
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

You wouldn't know it to look at her, but bluegrass firebrand Mollie O'Brien has a dirt road voice--robust and soulful, not remotely high and lonesome. Big Red Sun, a collection of blues and country-blues tunes, should s...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Mollie O'Brien
Title: Big Red Sun
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sugarhill
Original Release Date: 8/18/1998
Release Date: 8/18/1998
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
Styles: Bluegrass, Outlaw Country, Classic Country, Traditional Folk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 015891388526

You wouldn't know it to look at her, but bluegrass firebrand Mollie O'Brien has a dirt road voice--robust and soulful, not remotely high and lonesome. Big Red Sun, a collection of blues and country-blues tunes, should surprise those who've followed her. The band, paced by the bubbly electric and slide work of Nick Forster, lays down steady folk blues, and even dabbles in Cajun and tough Magic Sam soul. The most striking performance, Steve Goodman's "Looking For Trouble," features just acoustic guitar, accordion, and O'Brien's slow- burning voice. The pieces are in place for a great interpretive work-- including a sumptuous version of Lucinda Williams's "Big Red Sun Blues" plus John Hiatt and Randy Newman covers--but the result is closer to an unexceptional Bonnie Raitt offering. Good, but not quite a revelation. --Roy Francis Kasten

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CD Reviews

Soulful blues, folk, and pop
Scott White | Ontario, CA USA | 12/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Evidently, other fans know Mollie O'Brien from her bluegrass collaborations with her brother Tim. I bought this CD on a whim after hearing her sing on Garrison Keilor's Prairie Home Companion. She has good range, and her voice is strong, smooth, and forceful. I chose this album because I knew some of the songs by other artists and some of the reviews here on Amazon. None are original songs, but a few are traditionals arranged by O'Brien. She has picked a wonderful set of underappreciated gems written by some of our most talented songwriters. Aside from the wonderful recordings, I love the reminders about some of my musical favorites. These are great songs with great lyrics, performed wonderfully by O'Brien and her backing musicians. The first song, "In my girlish days" is a 20s era blues piece written by Memphis Minnie, which let me know right away that I was going to love the album. It's a simple, foot-tapping acoustic arrangement featuring guitar and harmonica. Maria Muldaur covered it recently on "Richland Woman Blues," which I love. I won't try to choose which version I prefer. A few more songs just tear me up.
On "No ash will burn," O'Brien sustains notes and bends them like a methodical blues guitarist. The arrangement features a simple, soulful electric lead guitar, with bass and drums. "Love like blood" (by John Hiatt) and "Big Red Sun Blues" (by Lucinda Williams)are hear-wrenching songs about love (as deep as it gets) and love gone stale that O'Brien belts out smoothly, clearly, and convincingly. On "Love Like Blood," she has the strength and conviction of Janis Joplin without the rough edges. I don't know much of Hiatt's work, but look for the tribute album "Rolling into Memphis" which got remaindered and is worth far more than the discount price.
"Big red sun blues" is softer, sadder, with vocal character described above ("no ash will burn") and a lovely bluesy accordian in its arrangement. Williams is someone whose songwriting I love, but whose vocals I just can't listen to. It's always good to find someone else recording her songs."Looking for trouble" is a Steve Goodman song from one of my favorite albums (Jessie's Jig), though I never paid this song much attention. Goodman sang it halfway tongue in cheek, but O'Brien sings it like a near tragedy and grabs your attention. It is pretty, simple, with perfect acoustic guitar arrangement and haunting background Hammond B3 organ. Be careful about drinking and lying - they'll suck you in! And fall in love? You never knew what sucked-in meant! "Gambling man" is a warning about loving someone beyond even his mother's help. Another simple but lovely blues acoustic guitar arrangement. A few other songs are folksy blues toe-tappers ("Eleezah," by John Magnie; "Little Baby," by Willie Dixon; "Brown-eyed handsome man," by Chuck Berry; "No hidin' place," trad. gospel). These don't catch me the way the others do, but that's just me.The album closes out with "Rollin" by Randy Newman. A soft, easy-going reminder that whatever troubles we've had, we can let ourselves be. Another acoustic number. I don't know if Randy Newman sings this with his TM sarcasm, but O'Brien sings it in complete sincerity. "never thought I'd make it but I always knew, somehow, that I'm all right now . . . rollin, rolling, I'm rollin, I ain't gonna worry no more. . . . ""
Wonderful mix of guitar and vocals
Andrew Tunstall | Burnie, Tasmania Australia | 07/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of the first CDs I've listened to and loved every track! Great variety of songs from Mollie and her band, with crystal clear vocals alternating with clever guitar patterns. My favourite tracks - Looking for Trouble and No Ash Will Burn."
Missy Rinaldi | 03/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one CD thats gets our whole family up and DANCING! We all just love it! Mollie's voice is unbelievably smooth and beautiful. Track after track will have you up and dancing! This is one of those rare CDs that is solid from start to finish. WOW!"