Frank Morey,
Cold in Hand
(Indigo Hamlet, 2002)

Frank Morey's Cold in Hand is a fascinating album. The track listing is full of titles that sound familiar, but all are listed as self-penned songs.

Harmonica dominates the opening "Blame it on the Devil," and the track sets the tone for the whole album. "Goin Down Kickin'" is my favourite track. Morey tells us that he will "step on everybody on my way down." He quotes from Dylan Thomas in his "rage against the dying of the light." It is a song that, despite the theme, is very happy sounding.

"Luci" is a fabulous story-song that captures a mood and keeps the listener hanging on every line. With lines like "you're a devil woman, soul been spoken for" and "she got 666 on her inner ,thigh" you will get the gist. A short story in music and song is how I can best describe "Slick and Mary Lou." "She met Slick at a hotdog stand" and "they took off in a Cadillac coupe De Ville" gets it going, and you cannot wait to see where it all leads. I will not spoil the treat by revealing the ending.

The song title of the year has to be "Barflies, Dead Dreams and Rivers of Whiskey Lies." Just the picture conjured by the title is magical and the song itself does not let the listener down.

"Two By Two" is one of those beautiful, easygoing songs based on the Bible but given a very human note with Eve being "bitten on the ass." "Ghosts and Guns" is another classic tale from this talented songwriter. It tells an old western gunfighter tale with beauty and soul and a fantastic underlying music track that haunts you with its simplicity. You can feel the dust the sun and the sorrow.

Oh, how I wish some of these songs could get a wider audience, to replace some of the trash that radio stations offer. The whole album has that magical feel. Listening to it you can almost feel that you are in a smokey blues club, sipping a beer and being entertained by a group that plays the music for love rather than money.

Some of the lyrics may be a bit earthy but they fit so snugly with the warm voice of Morey that it would be difficult to take offense. Morey reminds me very much of the bluesy period of the early Kris Kristofferson.

Every track on this CD has the potential to be a hit if the discerning audience out there could just hear them on a regular basis. Morey is another of the growing band of singer-songwriters that I want to hear more of, but more importantly, he is one that radio listeners need to hear more of to make him the name he deserves.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 6 July 2002