Peter Keane

Walkin' Around (Flying Fish)

A curious redaction, albeit a necessary one, considering Keane's fluid repertoire of a couple hundred songs. Still, those who've caught any of Keane's numerous Austin shows over the last couple years are sure to find a favorite or two missing, and replaced by what? "Tylerville Road," wherein a fine performance is rendered moot by hapless lyrics that only Keane's reticent personality saves from dread "confessionalism," and a Bill Morrissey song about the snow and ice in Tennessee, although whether he's referring to Memphis or the Great Smokies (an important distinction) we don't know. Praise be to Morrissey for his interest in Keane's music, but some of the production accoutrements on this record sound rather dubious: Take the oh-here-comes-the-sad-part cello obbligato intruding on an otherwise great version of Dylan's "I Want You," and Morrisey's own tubercular harmonica on an inspired version of Richard Fariña's "Pack Up Your Sorrows." Rather, take them away, and leave Keane alone. Elsewhere, things are as fine as one should expect, with Keane's hearty vocals, and deft guitar work consistently impressing, particularly on "You Haunt My Dreams," "Poor Jessie," (both originals), and Mississippi John Hurt's "If You Don't Want Me". Verdict: half as good as it could be, twice as good as most of the erstwhile "competition" (folk or otherwise).
(3.0 stars) -- B.B.

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