Megon McDonough,
Blue Star Highway
(Sirius, 1993)

While travelling with the Four Bitchin' Babes, the women's quartet founded by Christine Lavin, Megon McDonough found herself writing this album's worth of songs when she intended to create a CD of jazz standards. The closing number, "Danny Boy," is the only song McDonough didn't pen. The rest definitely are not jazz standards. Instead, they feel like Broadway wannabes -- songs waiting for a script to gather them together into one handy show.

The title track, and the CD's opening number, literally sets the stage. Enter the narrator, now a middle-aged woman with children, who flashbacks to her teenage days and remembers how "we were young and didn't have a clue/Of the good life that we had." She then proceeds to philosophize about how all people have a blue star highway "to take them somewhere else" -- it's only fear that keeps us from using it. The lyrics are fine, but the rhymes ring of Broadway and West End shows. "The good life that we had" rhymes with "Oh, life's a dream, when you're 16/that's beautiful and sad."

As the album continues, the rest of the songs generally continue along the theme of the middle-aged woman looking back, whether it's the torch song "A Woman's Got Her Pride"; a song to McDonough's son, "Denvir"; or "The Tree," about family connectedness.

There's really nothing wrong with the album, but it's neither the contemporary folk nor the jazz standards album that McDonough probably wanted to make. Perhaps unknowingly, based on her own theatrical experience (McDonough has acted on stage in addition to performing songs for television), she has written an album of songs that would work in Broadway-style musical; all she needs now is the show and the one song that will become a hit outside of the play.

[ by Ellen Rawson ]
Rambles: 22 October 2002

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