Steve Ripley - Ripley
By Steve Ripley
Very Good Condition in original cardboard case
If Steve Ripley's Martin D28 is indeed his only friend (as he writes in "Oklahoma Blues," one of ten wonderful songs on this, his latest, self-titled album), he's one of the lucky souls on earth to have such a good, faithful, trusted one. "Ripley" is many incredible things -- an album with actual songs, actual instruments, beautiful recording, soulful singing, easeful jamming, emotional breadth _and_ depth -- but it's easy to miss that it's also a fantastic, understated masterpiece of folk and blues and electric guitar-playing.
The playing and the mix almost bury the guitar work, but fortunately this is not a loud (i.e. compressed, flashy, show-off, technique-for-technique's sake) album; turn it up and listen closely and you'll hear guitars sing like they rarely seem to be able to do any more.
Steve does seem to have a large circle of warm-hearted friends, though, as each song here features accompaniment from a variety of folks, some known, some not known, all good. It all mixes wonderfully, and takes you back to a time when there was no music industry, just musicians, songwriters and people who like to play and sing -- and are actually good at it.
Almost every song is a classic here, from the deceptively cheerful rock of "Gone Away" to the truly sweet, memorable "Sweetheart Town" (salve for the soul of anyone chasing a dream), to the '50s-ish "Down, Down," to the gospel apocalypse of "The Round and Round." Most are Ripley originals, though a heart-rending performance of the '30s classic "No Depression (In Heaven)" points in a direction Steve could take a whole album with powerful result (it doesn't hurt that the next -- original -- song after holds up amazingly well alongside).
If you're looking for something real to share with a friend or loved one, definitely give this album a listen -- it'll put a lot of things in perspective.
I think Steve's got a whole new career ahead of him, if the news of this gem ever gets around -- watch out!
|2||Night Time Lover|
|3||Too Many Borderlines|
|4||Mr. Jingle Jangle|
|7||Down, Down (I Don't Believe You)|
|8||The Round And Round|
|9||No Depression (In Heaven)|