In Northern California (Where The Palm Tree Meets The Pine
Danny O'Keefe was a singer/songwriter who issed numerous critically acclaimed albums throughout the 1970's, four of which have never been issed on CD anywhere in the world. "American Roulette" was orginally issed in 1977 ... more »on Warner Brothers Records. It features David Lindley.« less
Danny O'Keefe was a singer/songwriter who issed numerous critically acclaimed albums throughout the 1970's, four of which have never been issed on CD anywhere in the world. "American Roulette" was orginally issed in 1977 on Warner Brothers Records. It features David Lindley.
Jon Holcombe | 04/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five stars are not enough for this lost classic.
If you like John Sebastian, Jesse Colin Young, Gordon Lightfoot, or Neil Young, you have to hear this album. Equal or exceeds 70's classics like Blood on the Tracks and After The Goldrush but more intensely emotional and personal, poetic, and melodic. Strains of jazz, folk, pop and even country are present in O'keefe's songs. O'keefe provides a window into his soul and the regrets borne of living, ruminations on lost loves, friendships and time are universal and deeply felt.
The gorgeous melodies and O'keefe's distinct lyrical poetry have haunted me for 30 years, since I first heard this masterwork. Roger Kellaway and David Lindley are just two of the great muscians assembled for this album. Some songs are tightly and slickly PRODUCED, in the best sense of the word, with orchestration. But the intimacy and powerful emotion of Okeefe's lyrics are never lost.
4 or 5 of these songs are all time favorites but one song alone is worth the price of the CD: the title track "American Roulette". In this 7 minute classic O'keefe examines lost love, lost dreams, and the price of fame. It is an existential masterpiece in the tradition of movies like "Sunset Boulevard" but with an achingly beautiful melody, humour and pathos.
I cannot say enough about, or recommend this album strongly enough."
Sophisticated Performances Of Should Be Standards
J. Rochford | Connecticut Shoreline | 04/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Danny O'Keefe released this album in 1977 and I remember seeing him in a club opening for Henry Gross of all people. No one else I know owns it or knows Danny beyond Good Time Charlie. What a pity because they are missing a truly unique writer that sings with a penetratingly sad voice.
American Roulette first 5 songs flow magically - they made up side 1 on vinyl. "Runaway" is the story of a young girl who flees an abusive father only to find herself sinking in a life of prostitution. The Spanish Harlem musical arrangement of strings, fretless bass and guitar pulls us into this sad story that Danny sings sadly but with clear-eyed observation. "Islands" is a beautiful love song that is seductively rhythmic. "On Discovering A Missing Person" is broken hearted blues with especially strong lyrics. The magic of O'Keefe's writing, arranging and singing is that you can feel O'Keefe's pain and share the strong desire to fall in love again. "The Hereafter" is a rocking shuffle with clever wordplay riding atop jazzy guitar, bass piano and organ. "You Look Just Like A Girl Again" is the best love song for older lvers that I have ever heard. It should be a standard for every saloon and cabaret singer. Mature but sultry. If you ever wondered what the sound of experienced love sounnd like - cue up yhis track. So ends side 1.
The reason I docked the album a star is because the middle of side 2 sags against the brilliance of the opening quintet of songs. "All My Friends" is another good song that sets O'Keefe's folk song against a Hotel California Eagles-like arrangement. The next 3 cuts, "Plastic Saddle", "In Northern California" and "American Roulette" pale against the artistry that comes before but then you get to the closer "Just Jones". How can the lyric about a man staring down at his dead lovers body in a coffin be turned into a beautiful reminisence of a the love of a lifetime. "Just Jones" is another should be standard for a singer that can convey the heartbreak without sinking into pathos. O'Keefe is the rare artist that sings songs of everyday loss imbued with the dignity and emotion they deserve."
"In many ways Danny O'Keefe represents what is best about the singer/songwriter genre. Still does in fact after all these years. He knows how to tell a story, writes memorable lyrics, creates fantastic music and works out arrangements in many different and surprising music styles that enhance his songwriter abilities. "American Roulette" came out in 1977 originally and it seemed that the public didn't notice it at all. This album has enduring qualities just like Mr. O'Keefe himself. The songs are first rate and his guitar playing sounds perfect. At times it almost feels like a concept album and the music and arrangements add a dreamy feeling to many of the tracks. The title track is songwriting of epic proportions and would serve well as part of a soundtrack in many movies, and when the album ends with the heartfelt "Just Jones," you know that you were in for a treat. With this CD release as well as "O'Keefe" (1972), "So Long Harry Truman" (1975) & "The Global Blues" (1979) his entire catalogue is finally available in the CD-format. Best of all, he still records and performs. 2008 has seen the release of his 10th album "In Time" - another classic contribution from Danny O'Keefe. "
An Overlooked Masterpiece
Robert T. Farmer | 10/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Danny O'Keefe's 2nd best album (it's impossible to beat "So Long Harry Truman.") But this is as close as you can get. Keep in mind that his catalog has been tapped by Nickle Creek, Linda Ronstandt, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and many others. There is so much more to Danny O'keefe than "Good Time Charlies Got the Blues". Check out "Just Jones" on this CD, or " You Look Just Like A Girl Again ", "On Discovering A Missing Person". O'Keefe is a writers writer, He has a true point of view and he creates/relates life experience better than anyone...yes I said ANYONE (including Bob Dylan). You Need this CD. Give it some one you love."