Masterpiece from the Seventies
Søren Matzen Andersen | Hvidovre, Denmark | 07/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though this 1975 release might seem swamped with big names hired to beef up the recording, the resulting effort is nothing less than brilliant. At a first glance the list of guest appearances does look like a who's-who in Californian country-rock and West Coast music circles, with names like Linda Ronstadt, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner (The Eagles), Bernie Leadon, Andrew Gold, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Gary Mallaber, Larry Knechtel, David Lindley, John Guerin, Tom Scott, Richard Greene & David Grisman! Danny O'Keefe's own guitar-playing is great and another noteworthy musician is Roger Kellaway, who provides eminent piano on several songs. O'Keefe and Kellaway also collaborated on "American Roulette" (1977) and "The Global Blues" (1979) - two other releases you shouldn't miss.
Danny O'Keefe is of course an excellent songwriter, which this - his 4th album - gives ample proof of. The title track sounds great with Ronstadt, Henley and Leadon harmonizing and Ronstadt also sings harmony on O'Keefe's wonderful bittersweet divorce song "Quits." Two of his compositions - "Covered Wagon" & "Steel Guitar" - were originally recorded on his 1971 debut "Danny O'Keefe." But these new versions are much better - at least in terms of arrangements. Other fine examples of his songwriting are "The Kid/The Last Days" with its western theme sounding almost "cinematographic" and the gloomy "Hard Times" closing out this fantastic CD. He covers a lot of different styles as well, rock, country, jazz, rhythm & blues, honky-tonk songs and it all works out fine in the end. To top it off , Danny O'Keefe has got this wonderful slightly nasal voice adding the final touch to each song.
Danny O'Keefe has recorded 10 albums since 1971 including his new 2008 release "In Time," but has never been a huge name on the charts. That is one of the great mysteries of life. He's a better songwriter than let's say Jackson Browne, and in my opinion ranks as high as icons like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. And then he is much more adventurous when setting words to music than his contemporaries, a fact that gives most of his albums longevity.
"It's hard to find an honest man"...
Jon Holcombe | 01/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the great Seventies songwriters. Think Neil Young, Jim Croce, Jesse Colin Young, John Sebastian, Bruce Cockburn...
Great melodies, deeply felt lyrics with pop extending to folk/country/blues sensibility. Steel guitar, violins (or fiddle depending on the song!), piano, acoustic and electric guitar compliment O'keefes smooth and soulful, twangy voice.
O'keefe is a songwriters songwriter, responsible for some Great Songs: "Angel Spread Your Wings", "American Roulette", "You Look Just Like A Girl Again".
This album has it's share of stellar songwriting. I rank this about even with "Runnin' From The Devil", close behind my favorites "American Roulette" and "Breezy Stories"."