Bob Michel,
The Oysterman's Ball
(independent, 2004)

Bob Michel is an old-fashioned storyteller. He's also a poet, singer, songwriter and musician.

That combination of talents makes his new CD, The Oystermen's Ball, a jewel for those of us who like what began back in the 1960s and became defined as roots music.

Sea songs and chanteys predominate on the album. Most speak of the past and you can smell the salt, hear the creak of the ropes and the smack of the sails in the wind. They are lean, strong melodies. Michel has a pleasant singing voice and offers some touching lyrics backed by 6- and 12-string guitars, banjo, mandolin, concertina, accordion and whistles.

There are 11 tracks on the album and, if I had to pick a favorite, it'd be the title song. If you aren't touched by the poignant lyrics about the widowed captain hurrying home to take his only daughter to the ball, then you haven't a bit of sentiment in you.

by John R. Lindermuth
8 October 2005

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